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Full text of "Omni Magazine (April 1985)"





VOL 7 NO. 7 




Kar.sa- €■;■/ ch biographer 
Michael Radenrjcn sr:d des'gnei 
Jay Hunt collaborated on 
this picture. It was originally 
rendered lor Krg.h Brothers 
Real Estate for an advertising 
brochure and represents the 
conception oi a new project in 
the mind of an architect. 






Jack Anderson 













Randall Black 




Bill Lawren 


: - -"i 


Jeff Hecht 



Data Bank 





Pamela Weiniraub 



Er ; 

Patrick Huyghe 




Peter Garrison 




Ronald K. Siege! 




Paul Bagne 




Shigeo Fukuda 




Ray Bradbury 




Phillip Harrington 




Gregory Benford 




Thomas 0' Toole 




Greg Bear 



UFOs. etc 



Hidden piciures 




Scot Morris 




Dan Morrill 




Mitch Coleman 



: By Jad< Anderson 

^For our children, 
space offers 
opportunities on a 
scale previously 
unimagined — unless 
we fail them 3 

■ ■■■■. .■,■.■ 

hSd' fiiiif \ m apyysofe tM : ' ' ; '■■ :■ 
ity'^nhhemoobandy .' 
:ment : bf Mars. Tneywil! '.' '; : 
te,fhe>.modnsof.Satbfi-i aneidDpifsri. ■. 

nii,""': !■ ; ■ .:■ ■ qi i 

gf| | i U/ :.■■■ :■::■'.:■!'. 

pi tfJiyG 'hrbug! ■'■ ■d.i'v.: s 

rhes '>■.:■ ■ ■■■.:;■; egiiklic 

asSeasidlenow'asiha.Apotomopn .. 

when !i-ii ; ;V"«i i ■ r a 

drawing board': Theouestlon'isnc:; Cat' ■ 


■'>■■■■■ ■ ■ , ■ !■:■. '■■■ 

Sac k say;N.AS'A may hobt'h&Jeaef-ai,' 1 --'.' 
■j!-x\cjv ; :v;.:; fe WP sn hath- ■■sub:;':*;:; 
;■! I- e pop: i .. vail oft 

appropriations for' pork-barrel projects-, 1 ' 

I: ■ !i if ■ ! :■ 

"lord to b hase moonbeams. ■ ■ 
arqumt it has -or- many years' ■ 
space pace. and-itss. now 

'"' 3 


But if Is an.argument thai rests; an bad' . ■ 
:| ered ■ ion riii one. 
lending man's. reach :nio-. 
andlnc his krowf'edgs: " . 
-■ ii ha 1 1 ■ 
act The ieoeral 

e times more ' 
and inefficiency." ..--'. 
nan's future, v : 
and we can enrich the present by doing so. 
: '■■■:■■ ■ .:. ' .■.' ■ n discoveries — 
whether '.he opening of naw continents or 
of new. vistas of knowledge— 'hat have 
been ihe dost antidotes to poverty sauator. 
and csse.as'e. n was me voyage o- "::■ _.""- 
•ejected as impractical first 
Fohuga;, men by a Spanish 
i — that -made 
most successful antipoverty 
.p;oe r am.in history the great migration 
of beslitaie peoples to tf e New Wend 

■ ■ ■■ i 'v.ii.m.l: ■■:.-■■- ;■! b'-v-:; m 
■■ '■: :■ i S him ino I .1';.; ;y progm 
v. tally needed to arouse children's curiosity 
about spaoe; Formed 
the White House and leading American 

''.■::'. n iii i i i' >:■!!.... . ; ng 

bbys; and girls between ihe ages of s:k 

■■■!'■ ■:. soac ■' ■ ion 

Ariel .when Young Astronauts rets its stride by 
■■■ I ■ ■■ ■ . ■. ■. ■;.. :•■■■..«■ 1 million 

■■.':■■, thai 
av.-siU.-s irv space. -.Here are a few. of the 
at r.a 
■ !ii:' ni.v nf i h l , 

!o ... vr Ill ■ 


unsbietdeddy any- atmosphere, nasbaoh ' ■ 

exposed fpr;eofisft€|fadiafbn;fromfhe'.su'r : '■ 

Aa'-a resh!ty;ive;mdon.;s:an:,i(feats!je :; frorn ;;;.':. 

vvi'MCh'to study the mys'fehesof •he.eadh.hhe 

scry and Ihe stars-. '■' 

* : hidust.'la! opportunities will- 3ccn.pro!rie'a;e 

IS; |ppb§|; If fjpl&j StfS^R Earth bee omes ■ 

'I .i. ■ 
■ i ' so i lafiohs to spa- 

where such activities will become' ' 
harmless. Tf valuable 

"minerais.'nPf pnty lo : augment dwindling 

sustain soclefes ii-spacc. 
•T^it-ara astronauts will ier-mforrrdh'e' 
yinvcorimonisoi' Mars add other bodies, 
melting permafrost Info llid-susiuining 
water and introducing pianfliio thai wilt, in 
n-T i. in time: ..■ 

;fheyw:h.dptspaeewith bright, domed' 
FKlanoc of humanity laying ;.he foundation 
'IpVIhe' survival of our species Hour planet 
Utirva;-e!y faces destrucrcn uithe-; from 
cosmic events or home- grown wars. 
'.- : While.todays soacc t r i j prepares-' 
ro open up future woiids. a also p-omo-'es 

■!.!>■ I! .■;■■: I 1 . 'i ■■ .'I'll i , 

enrich or.' everyday life. Huben Humphrey 
: usedto sayifiai the earfnly appiicauons 
of ft -ifii-c ' 

advances we developed to penetrate 
space, dfealep : ar more '.veaith than : 

,.,i cosi i ihe fi'sl o!a ■. E'his 
wisdom holds, even truer today, when 
tradiiiona' ;obs a-e dwindling as a^resurtob' 
the deci he of heavy Industry. 
■. Such now 
eleotroniGS. ielecomn "i un lea : io r s , robotics, 

and ,' i in I ma 

1 :■. i ;r m ■ i, 1 . ■■■ . .■ 

■ '.:.■ an. ii -orma! i n ?.< 
and Ihp space program is .fhep'ee.mfnerif 
■producef■olif!:0!■r:eflOi , 
A nafjohaioommifn 

an procv.i ■ ■■ >■ .; i.; ■ ' i .' , i i i ,■ 
dafurPmg way the Eighties has become a ' 
jaded, flaccid time to be young. Ouragey :■'. 
seems besei by harmful diversions: pur ■ --: 
500161/. short on stimuii to vigor and- excel.- : ' 
lence. But the young are fascinated with ■ . : '. :; ' 
space. The Young Astronauts program will 
allow them the real 

becoming pioneers in space sose-nces end 
will enable them to contribute to the large . 

--:-'. ■ ■■■--■ ■ . 1. 1 ■ in. A' !n 

the successful implencntahon of the 

tosuct ?,s pays i ;".: s 

a no i 

■■■■■■! lei iv d t e stars. 
Every generaiicn, sf It Is lo fulfill ;tseif. 

I '■■■ I !!i...l|l ■ !■ .iH > ■ II ■ I , I ,,0\.: .I' I . 

to ennoble it. The distant reaches of space 
act as such an incentive. No; since the time 
of Columous has the dawn of a new ago 
el expicratic \evy- :.-.----,i y. 

Foi cur chrci'en, the epporiuoiiies wiil 
present theniseives on a scale previously 
jnimagined-- : uniess we fail Lihem DO 



I ^\ I e live in a world oi illusion, a 
I .1 I J P erce P tuai extravaganza 

fc» *» created as our senses receive 

data from the universe at large. Dazzling 
as our concept of reality may be. it is a 
limited vision, dependent upon the narrow 
band of energy our sense organs absorb. 
The human ear. for example, can pick 
up the booms and trills of a Beethoven 
symphony but not the high-pitched whistle 
used to summon a dog. And the eyes 
are sensitive to only a tiny portion of the ■ 
broad electromagnetic spectrum. We are 
awestruck by the blazing blues and greens 
in the world around us, but we can'i begin 
to fathom the splendor of gamma rays 
and X rays, the spectral vibrance of intrared. 

As Isaac As mov said "Seeing is merely 
seeing, nothing more." He meant, of course, 
that perceptions can be erratic, sometimes 
reflecting the nature of the world we must 
negol mg our percep- 

tions into the schizophrenic and bizarre. 

Whether one's perceptions are peaceful 
or maddening, though, they can often 
be studied and controlled. And in "Hypno 
Odyssey" (page 76), writer Paul Bagne 
describes a new generation of scientists 
trying to understand the olio of illusion and 
reality at the heart of consciousness. The 
new-age hypnotists, Bagne explains, use 
their techniques to pierce Ihe layers of 
human perception, proving that even when 
commanded to feel or see an illusion, the " 
subject — on some hidden level — will know 
what's going on. Using that newfound 
knowledge, the researchers have helped 


their subjects to perceive Ihe subtle ebbs 
and flows of the inner body. 

If people can perceive and influence the 
body while under hypnosis, they should 
be able to do so in other situations as well. 
And in this monlh's Mind column ("The 
Awareness Factor," page 22). Patrick 
Huyghe describes anesthetized patients 
who perceive — and respond to — encour- 
aging suggestions during surgery. Huyghe, 
who is currently on a fellowship in science 
broadcast journalism at WGBH-TV in Boston, 
believes that unconscious perception can 
play an increasingly important role in 
medicine. But. he laments, the medical 
community is reluctant lo recognize the 
healing power of the mind. 

Some doctors, though, have begun to 
recognize lhal human physiology may 
be subject to conscious control. In "Kindling 
Courage" (page 44), writer Pefer Garrison 
explores firewalking— the new fad that has 
thousands of people slriding across 
burning coals. Many dedicated firewalkers, 
Garrison notes, feel no pain and sustain 
not a single blister or burn. The participants, 
moreover, gain confidence because of 
the illusion that they have transcended the 
ordinary abilities of man. 

Scientists agree that firewalking is feasible 
if the walk isn't overly long. But when asked 
about another hot phenomenon— the: 
strange sound a meleor makes as it. 
plummets to Earth — they have long said, 
"impossible." In this month's Earth column 
("Hiss of the Fireball," page 20), however, 
Omni senior ed tor Pamdci Weintraub 

explains the anomaly. "Because sound 
travels slowly," Weinlraub says, "it shouldn't 
reach Earth until seconds after the fireball 
has passed overhead. But in this instance 
the fireball is emitting electromagnetic 
energy that travels many times faster than 
sound waves."' 

The Earth column describes an aural 
illusion, but in "lllusionahum," on page 80, 
contributing editor Owen Davies profiles 
ihe master of visual illusion, the Japanese 
artist Shigeo Fukuda. Fukuda's work plays 
with our perceptions, proving that what 
we think we see may not always be real. 

Reality can be distorted in outer space as 
well. In "Perception on an Alien Shore" 
(page 52). UCLA psychologist Ronald K. 
Siegel explains how we might perceive 
extraterrestrial environments and life forms. 
Describing biirc ng Nashi-js. adject terror, 
and hallucinations of faces from the past, 
Siegel declares that astronauts must be 
trained to deal with an onslaught of strange 
perceptions. "Science-fiction writers have 
scripted the etiquetle for alien encounters," 
says Siegel. an avid SF fan, "But now that 
such encounters may be possible, scientists 
are also concerned." 

In our own fiction this month. Ray Bradbury 
explores some homey perceptions: What's 
Ihe meaning of that funny scratching noise 
overhead? "Trapdoor" (page 58) suggests 
unseltling possibir.ies. Greg Sear takes the 
reader to hell and back in'"Dead Run" 
(page 90). And on page 70, Gregory 
Beniord raises a question of medical ethics 
in "Immortal Night."DO 


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Science Smarts 

Congratulations on your sixth year of 

publishing Omni. In a jungle of pulp, your 
publication is both a ray of light and a 
breath of fresh air. Other magazines have 
fried to copy your format, but none have 

II was Kathy Keeton's First Word [October 
1984] on the future of science illiterates 
that prompted me to write this letter. When 
I was a child, science seemed so exciting. 
Where did the dinosaurs go? What's a 
supernova? Vietnam diverted my energies 
from these interests, but as a layman. I 
still enjoy the wonder of it all. Thank you for 
youf contribution toward helping people 
understand this world in which we live. 

Rusty Miller 
Tyler, TX 

Kathy Keeton's First Word demonstrates 
valuable insights into a real problem. The 
public-education system fails to teach 
three important concepts necessary to a 
Successful scientist in our society: initiative, 
creative thinking, and the use and appreci- 
ation of the free-enterprise system. Consid- 
ering that our nation's teaching staff 
consists mostly of individuals who have a 
background in education only, this failure is 
easy to understand. 

After a student spends 16 to 20 years in 
the educational system, staying there is 
the path of least resistance. Successful 
scientists do not follow the path of least 
resistance, nor are the iraiis necessary to 
becoming a successful scientist likely to be 
taught by those who follow that path. 

Gary Ellis 
Fulton, MO 

Scientific Ethics 

I am writing in regards to Sherry Baker's 
article "Nazi Science" [Continuum, January 
1985]. It's a shame that some people 
cannot see the forest for the trees. By using 
the information obtained from the Nazis' 
experimentaiion on concentration-camp 
inmates, scientists are not condoning 
the methods used. They are furthering 
modern medical knowledge. To paraphrase: 
It we cannot learn from the past, we are 
doomed to relive it. 

No matter how barbaric these experi- 
ments were, the fact is that they were done. 
And just as there is no way to justify or 
excuse how they were done, there is also 
no way to undo them. 

If the research conducted during this 
period can help save lives today, then 
I can do nothing but hail people like Robert 
Harnett for their efforts, it is almost 
poetic justice. 

Wesley Nelson 
Portsmouth, VA 

In the article "Nazi Science," the question 
is raised as to whether researchers 
should use the data obtained by unscrupu- 
lous Nazi doctors. On the preceding page, 
Bernard Malamud is quoted as saying, 
"If your train's on the wrong track, every 
station you come to is the wrong station." 
Nuff said. 

Daniel Kline 

Mayans and Magna vox 

Bill Lawren's "Mayans From the Sky" 
[Explorations, January 1985] was, on the 
whole, accurate and well done. I would, 

however, like to correct one error concerning 
the geographical-positioning system used 
by our expedition. This equipment was 
loaned to us by Magnavox, not Raytheon, 
as was stated in the article. 

Stephen Prucha 

Senior Geologist 

Earth Satellite Corporation 

Chevy Chase, MD 


Researchers at the Kalamazoo Child 
Guidance Clinic, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 
studied the effects of the drug methylphen- 
idate hydrochloride — commonly called 
Ritalin — on hyperactive and learning- 
. disabled children in 1964. They found that 
the drug produced some positive effects 
on the children tested. Contrary to what was 
stated in "Stuttering Cure" [Forum, 
September 1984], the experimentation to 
determine whether Ritalin could offer a 
cure for speech disorders and other handi- 
caps was completed, and no further 
experimentation is expected. DO 


Omni we/comes speculation, theories, 
commentary, dissent, and questions from 
readers in this open forum. We invite you 
to use Ms column to voice your hopes 
about the future and to contribute to the 
kind of informal dialogue that provokes 
thought and generates breakthroughs. 
Please note that we cannot return submis- 
sions and that the opinions expressed here 
are not necessarily those of the magazine. 

Science and the Spiritual 

I would like to respond to the comments 
made about my letter "Religious Furor" 
[Forum, September 1984], in the letters 
entitled "God and Science" [Forurh. 
December 1984], First of all, please don't 
tell me about the harm "atheistic" nations 
have caused. Any philosophical position, 
including alheism, should be arrived at 
through reflection. I disagree with all forms 
of dogmatism, including the dogmatic 
atheism of Marxist philosophy, which has 
given rise lo religious oppression. 

My position regarding religion's influence 
on science is based on historical facts. 
Anyone who is ignorant of this phase 
of history should read Andrew R White's 
classic book History of the Warfare of 
Science With Theology in Christendom. 

Actually, I am quite pleased that my letter 
drew some angry responses. We are at a 
period in our history when it might be 
wise to subject all our values to more rational 
scrutiny. I'm glad that I offended some 
people — if it made them think. 

Jeffrey Governale 

I refute the letters in "God and Science" 
detending religion and faith. How can 
religious people be said to be seeking truth 
when those who question the faith are 
labeled blasphemers? Religion is a lazy 
man's pseudoscience established for those 
who are afraid to think. How easy it is to 
let the Vatican decide moral issues for you. 
Atheists are far more moral than believers 
because atheists know why they hold their 
values. We've worked to realize them — , 
we don't blindly accept what the Church has 
decreed as the truth. By placing one's 
faith in God, I believe that one loses his faith 

16 OMNI 

in man. Truly moral people don't need the 
fear of eternal damnation to force them 
to behave morally! 

Kurt Swasing 
New Hope. PA 

Please permit me to congratulate you for 
printing Bill Lawren's "Vatican Science" 
[December 1984J, an excellent presentation 
rendered with much fairness. We are not 
usually accustomed to giving this kind 
of approval. Your article is another indication 
of the improvement in relations between 
science and religion. 

Rev. Peter Stravinskas 

East Coast Director 

Catholic League for Religious 

and Civil Rights 


The ignorance displayed in "Vatican 
Science" enraged me. As a Roman 
Catholic who is well versed in Church 
history and science, I resent Lawrerfs 
referring to my church as a fundamentalist 
body, "a church that recently insisted on 
literal interpretation of the Bible " 

Lawren is mistaken, "he Roman Catholic 
Church does not, and to my knowledge 
never has. insisted upon a literal interpreta- 
tion of the Bible. The Church draws concrete 
beliefs from the abstrsc parables of Christ. 

A church with such provocative thinkers 
as the Jesuits could not be named among 
the fundamentalist sects of Christianity. 

Richard Chard 
Keene, NH 

As a loyalist to papal teachings and the 
papal office, I'd like to commend Omni and 
Bill Lawren for "Vatican Science." 

The Vatican has always been the divine 
office that Christ founded. Throughout 
the centuries, however, that office has been 
condemned because of the actions of 
the few ignorant and evil men who have 
occupied and controlled its power and 
influence. In the past century there have 
been some saintly and worldly wise persons 
occupying that office. John Paul II is 
certainly a worthy one. I am delighted with 
his blessing on scientific endeavors and 
would once again like to congratulate Omni 
for making the Church's scientific pursuits 
understandable to laymen. 

Al Ware 
Rogers, AZ 

I thought Omni was supposed to be a 
science magazine. Lately it seems to me 
that you are trying to become a religious 
magazine. I know science and religion are 
trying to "mix," but give me a break! I 
stopped believing in God just about the 
time I stopped relieving in Santa Claus (or 
maybe a little bit before that). Articles 
like "Vatican Science" and "Righteous Stuff'-' 
[May 1984] don't belong in Omni. 

I don't really care what the Pope has to 
say about science. His views on other 
topics that are important to me, like abortion, 
give a clear enough picture of this man, 
who in my opinion is one of the most 
reactionary popes we've had in a long time. 
■ Come on, Omni, don't preach at me. 
Oh, by the way, I did like the quote above 
the Pope's picture on page 58 of "Vatican 
Science" about Genesis being a myth. 

Elizabeth Dewey 



■By Pamela Weintraub 

It was Novemoer 13. 1833 and the East 
Coast was in the midst of perhaps tho 
most spectacular meteor shower of 
all time. While dozens of glowing firebars 
streaked through the- atmosphere, people on 
the ground detected a distinctive hiss. 
Minutes after, they heard the roa- ct the 
meteors' dive to Earth. 

Some 150 years later, in November '984. 
Ben and Jeannette Kilingsworth watched 
from their rural Galveston County, Texas-, 
home as the space shuttle Discovery 
approached Earth. Streaking across the 
predawn sky, the craft seemed to omit 
an unmistakable swish. The expected sound 
ol reentry— Ihe sonic boom — came 
several minutes later. 

Over the centuries, there have been 
hundreds of similar reports. People watching 
large, moving objects !«me& ■• c fireballs 
have routinely reported swishes, whooshes 
crackles, and hisses And according to 
Danish meteorologist Vagn Buchwald. 
animals have lone; aj pi -■ t i \ -ieteel such 
sounds as well Since gW waves travel 
thousands of li-ies taster than sound waves 
do, light radiating from such tar-off objects 
should reach the witness seconds before the 
sound, But-in case after case, witnesses 
have perpeived both sound and image at 
the same time. 

This anomaly has been the subject ol 
scienlific inquiry ever since the 1780s, 
when Sir Charles Blagdon. secretary of the 
Royal Society of London, studied a. large 
fireball that reportedly hixi-od ;\s ■ w-.v.k: ■■::-, 
descent more than 50 miles from observ- 
ers on Ihe ground. 

Blagdon was convinced by the sincerity 
of his witnesses, but he could not explain 
their perceptions. Instead, he declared, he 
would leave Ihe mystery "as a point to 
be cleared up by future observers." 

Future observers g'ic indeed contemplate 
Ihe phenomenon, proposing one theory 
after another. One scientist, for inslance, 
suggested that energy emitted by the . 
fireball stimulated the brain directly, 
bypassing the normal hearing apparatus in 
the ear. Another proposed :hat the sounds 
were produced when tiny particles blasted 
off the meleor and flew close lo the 
observer oh Earth. 

20 OMNI 

k by their sincerity, 
d lo go back and 

that delusion was no! the case. "Reporl 
after report.' says Keay. "paralleled the 
claims ol my own witnesses in Australia. If 
the reports were mere fantasy, how could 
Ihe phenomenon occur again and again at 
such widely divergent "jrnes and places 
around the world? Something more had to 
be going on." 

To figure out that something, Keay took a 
three-month leave of absence from his 
job. heading for Ihe National Research 
Council, in Ottawa, Ontario. 

.Getting down to work, he theorized that 
the mysterious phenomenon could occur 
only if sound were somehow traveling 
as fast as light. Since light is made of 
electromagnetic energy, the sound was 
probably induced by a form of electromag- 
netic energy as well. Electromagnelic 
energy, of course, cannot produce sound 
directly. Buf as any radio engineer knows, 
Keay reasoned, electromagnetic energy 
can certainly be converted to acoustical 
energy by a loudspeaker or some other 
transducer. Natural objects in proximity to 
the observer, he knew, could serve that 
function well. 

This embryonic Iheory in place, Keay 
dug out an article by Arizona physicist and 
fireball expert Doug Rc've- io. ReVelle 
reported that wner giant -'ireballs penetrated 
Ihe atmosphere, they produced a hot gas. 
or plasma, generating Iremendous turbu- 
lence in ine.r rapic descent to Earth. 

Latching onto ReVelle's information, 
Keay proposed thai Ihe plasma was turbu- 
lent enough to literally trap the earth's 
magnetic field, But during the fireball's 
desceni, the plasma would dissipate, 
releasing the magnetic field in the form of 
very low frequency elecfcmagnetic radia- 
tion. That radiation would travel to Earth 
at ihe speed ol light, causing objects in the 
vicinity of the observer to vibrate. 

Teslmg his hypothesis Keay placed 
. subjects benealh an electrode that emitted 
radiation similar to that given off by the 
fireball. In a few nstances subjects heard 
a whooshing sound. And those with loose 
clothing, steel-rimmed glasses, or frizzy hair, 
which all vibrate readily, were most suscep- 
tible of all, 

Keay's recent results are strengthened 



■By Patrick Huyghe 

□ h my God.'' wisecracks one 
member of the surgical team, 
looking down at the obese woman 
under deep anesthesia, "they dragged 
another beached whale into our operating 
room." The jokes fly last and furious, but 
the woman's poor recovery later on won't be 
any laughing matter. 

A week later the woman spontaneously 
recalls the comments, and within 24 hours 
her mysterious surgical complications 
clear up. Noticing the change, her nurse 
checks with someone who was present at 
the operation and who remembers the 
operating-room banter. 

This true slory is typical of incidents 
physicians describe as awareness under 
anesthesia. The term actually cowers a 
broad spectrum of reports, at one end of 
which are slories of patients who have 
been inadequately anesinet.zed and who 
wake up in the middle of an operation. 
At the other end are accounts of fully 
anesthetized patients who have no 
conscious memory of their surgery but 
whose later behavior indicates they knew 
something of what was happening around 

them. These episodes o- awareness under 
full anesthesia raise the question of 
whelher consciousness is necessary for 
awareness. Can perception occur in this 
unconscious stale Does h p,-i:,enls noi vous 
system continue to pick up environmental 
data under anesthesia? 

"There's no reason to believe lhal 
perception is not functioning and processing 
meaningful information even under 
anesl'icsa. says — enry Bennett, a 
psychologist currently on the faculty of Ihe 
department ol anesihssidcyy a I 'hf.- 
University of California's Davis Medical 
Center, in Sacramento. "General anesthetics 
do. not turn off the entire nervous system. 
It is fairly well known that Ihe auditory 
syslem, for instance, is remarkably resistant 
- to ihe eflecls of anesthetic agents." 

Bennett has beer able to demonstrate 
that patients are sensitive to Iheir surround- 
ings even under anesthesia and are able 
to respond to suggestions. In one instance, 
he instructed anosthet zed oaiients lo tug 
on an earlobe di./'nc; ,-■ preoperative 
■ interview (9 of 11 people did so), and in 
another experiment oaterts resoonood 

sthetized patients? 

to his suggestion to make one hand warmer 

than the other. "Even though they can 
.'h')/ ;;o,' ;.',;■;.' ous.''/ fecal: :!. patients are 
responsiveto suggestion and are able lo 
acton it," he says. 

The idea that cognitive functioning is 
going on even when a patient is uncon- 
scious is supported by some ingenious 
animal research, University of California at 
Irvine psycho biologists Norman Weinber- 
ger and Debra Sternberg, and Paul Gold, ot 
Ihe University of Virginia, taught anesthe- 
tized rats to fear a noise. 

The -rats were placed under heavy 
anesfhesia and presented with a series of 
tones followed by shocks. Some were 
given epinephrine, a stress hormone thought 
to play an important role in memory 
storage, while others received a saline 
solution. A week later, the rats' reactions to 
the tones were tested during a water- 
drinking task When me tones were 
sounded, Ihose that had been injected with 
Ihe saline solution continued to drink, 
while those that had received the epineph- 
rine ran into a corner and hid. 

The experiment shows that memories 
can form under anesthesia, and it helps 
explain some human-awareness episodes. 
"Since we know that epinephrine levels 
rise in response to stress," says Gold, "it is 
my guess thai those patients who remem- 
ber things that went on during surgery 
are also Ihose who reacted lo their operation 
with this sort of hormonal response." 
■ Because ol those f ridings. Bennett has 
begun looking for similar stress hormones 
in the blood of anesthetized patients. 
"When you go under anesthesia you are 
generally in a very high stress siluation," he 
says. And if these biochemicals work 
in people the same way they do in animals, 
he thinks he has a clue as to how people 
retain inlormation even when unconscious. 

Evidence of such awareness suggests 
that negative remarks and insensitive 
banter could have an adverse effect on a 
patient's recovery, whether or not 
the comments are consciously recalled. 
Such remarks as, "It's hopeless: this won't 
work right" or "It may be cancerous" could 
spell disaster for some patients. Aneslhe- 
tized patients may be vulnerable to upsetting 



By Randall Black 

Searing heal and radiation bake the 
cone-shaped spacecraft as it 
plummets through fierce gusts of 
superheated gas. The craft's mission, to 
explore a star close up for the lirst time, is 
far too dangerous lor a human. The pilot, a 
robot, activates the ship's dormant sensory 
equipment. On Earth, controllers wait 
while the heavily shielded probe undergoes 
a literal trial by tire.-As the spacecraft 
drops nearer to the incandescent surface, 
its computers record streams of scientilic 
data, while its coding system strains to 
reject deadly heat. 

At its closest approach, a distance only 
twice the star's diameter, the craft enters a 
gravitational field hundreds of times 
stronger than any before measured. 
Einstein's theory of relativity predicts that 
time will slow down in this slrange region. 
Before its trajectory takes it out and away 
into the cool of space, the now-glowing 
craft's cameras photograph the star's grainy, 
spotted surface. And there is something 
else. From the fires ot a star that mankind has 
wondered at and worshipped for millennia, 
the spacecraft swipes a small sample: 
a piece of the sun. 

In 1975 Giuseppe Columbo, of Italy's 
University of Padua, first suggested that 
NASA send an unmanned spacecraft to fly 
through the sun's corona. Since then. 
Project Starprobe has been studied by 
scientists.at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labora- 
tory (JPL). Just recently ihese scientists 
concluded that, once approved by 
Congress, the sun-grazing mission could 
be ready to fly sometime in the mid-Nineties. 
They estimate that costs will hover at the 
Galileo mission mark — $500 million to 
$1 billion. "We wouldn't have considered 
an undertaking like Ihis fifteen years ago." 
says James Randolph, Starprobe study 
manager at JPL. "It's not that we have the 
technology in hand, but we do have the 
confidence that we can develop it." 

The technological obstacles are formida- 
ble: to create a craft that's capable of 
withstanding solar radiation 3,000 times as 
intense as that- on Earth and temperatures 
of about 2,500° Kelvin — almost half as hot 
as the sun's surface. While enduring this 
hellish ordeal, the ship must also ta"ke 

-26 OMNI 

precise measurements and communicate 
with home. Add the demand that the 
probe's 450-pound shield not contaminate 
the sampling environment with any more 
than 3.5 milligrams of particulate debris 
(smaller than a single grain of sand) per 
second, and the eng noer's |ob takes on a 
nighimarish quality. 

Despite all Ihis, NASA is proceeding with 
tests of carbon- caibon shielding — the 
same type used on the nose, wings, and 
tail of the space shuttle — at a unique solar 
furnace in France. Sunlight, concentrated 
to mimic conditions Starprobe will encounter 
in the solar corona, will roast the layered 
carbon material while engineers measure 
how many contaminants are released. 
Once scientists master the shielding 
"technology, Randolph says, the major hurdle 
will be behind them. 

After being launched from the space 
shuttle's payload bay, the spacecraft must 
shed the velocity that keeps it orbiting 
at the same distance as the earth orbits the 
sun. Because its Centaur booster lacks 
the power, to decelerate the craft directly. 
Starprobe will first make a two-year detour to 

Starprobe: Snatching a piece of Old Sol. 

Jupiter and use the gravity of that planet to 
brake its speed. Then the slowed craft 
will plunge toward the sun. arriving fewer 
than four years after its launch from Earth. If 
it survives the first pass, Starprobe will 
revisit the sun every four years, refining and 
enhancing previous observations until 
one of its vital systems fails. 

Coming within 1,730,800 miles of the 
sun, the proposed spacecraft will pass 15 
times closer than the present record holder: 
the German spacecraft Helios. At this 
range, Starprobe's various telescopes can 
peer through a tiny hole at the apex of 
its conical shield and make unique obser- 
vations in visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray 
light. By mapping the sun's magnetic field, 
astronomers may gain a better understand- 
ing of the structure and origin of solar 
flares— sporadic magnetic storms that 
disrupt radio communication on Earth. 
Scientists are anxious to take a sampling of 
the particles emanating from the sun, to 
belter understand the region where the solar 
wind begins to accelerate. 

The mission also presents an opportunity 
lo study gravitational effects undetectable 
anywhere else in the solar system, according 
to JPL scientist John D. Anderson. By 
carefully tracking how the solar gravitational 
Held affects Starprobe's trajectory, physi- 
cists can infer important information about 
the sun's shape, rotation, and internal 
structure. Such data can make or break 
those theories [hat postulate a rapidly 
rotating solar core, or even a small black 
hole, at the sun's center. 

On an even more esoteric plane, the way 
Starprobe behaves while passing near 
the sun could play a role in ongoing 
competition between Einstein's theory of 
general relativity and rival relativistic theories 
of gravitation. A superaccurate hydrogen 
clock aboard Starprobe could measure 
such effects predicted by general relativity 
as gravity's ability to slow time and to 
shift light frequencies. Says Robert D. 
Reasenberg. chairman of the Project 
Starprobe committee on gravity and relativity 
science, "Many of us think general relativity 
is a beautiful theory, but as an experimen- 
talist, I look for places to stick a pole in and 
crack it open. "DO 



By. Bill Lawren 

They belonged to Broadway Joe 
Namaih. and they may have been 
the most famous knees in the 
history of sporls. Battered by 13 years of 
pounding trom gargantuan National Football 
League linemen, Namath's knees were 
subjected to four major operations. 

Narnath was the victim not only of the 
onslaughts of defensive ends but of a 
basic disparity between the design of the 
human knee and the physical stresses 
involved in the games people play. The knee, 
with its 150° mobility and its ability to 
absorb lorces equal to three times a human 
body's weight, is perfectly suited for 
walking upstairs or strolling in the park. But 
expose il to the extraordinary stresses ol 
running, jumping, or pivoting, and this joint 
begins to look like "two crowbars held 
together with rubber bands." 

Nearly everyone who has donned shoul- 
der pads or running shoes has cursed 
the knee's basic frailty. Soon, though, 
everyone from the millionaire jock tothe six 
o'clock jogger may benetit from what Los 
Angeles sports orthopedist Douglas 
Jackson calls an "explosion" of pioneering 

treatments for knee ,ru es including new 
hea ! nc: techniques "irarsp-ants. and 
synthetic and organic spare parts. And 
researchers predict lhat in the not-too- 
distant future, we may see the most aston- 
ishing knee replacement of all: a bionic 
knee grown from a human being's own cells. 

Right now. the developmenl of spare 
parts looks most promising. One of the most 
vulnerable and frequently injured parts of 
the knee is the meniscus, the half-moon- 
shaped pad that absorbs shock and keeps 
the shin bone and the thigh bone apart. 

Usually, Ihe repair wck ? performed 
during microsurgery. But al New York's 
Hospital for Special Surgery, a team led by 
orthopedist Russet Warren s trying to 
improve the haal.no. properties of the 
meniscus. Unlike most body tissue, the 
inner two thirds of the meniscus has no 
blood supply and, thus, no healing 
capability. Once torn, it simply stays torn, 
Using a new surgical technique, however. 
Warren and his colleagues have made 
channels from the outer portion of the 
mehiscus (which does have a blood supply) 
to the inner area. In experiments on 

animals, this procedure has allowed blood 
to flow to Ihe m|ury promot ng what 
appears to be full healing. So tar, the 
technique has been tried on about 20 
human patients, and Warren is anxiously 
awaiting long-term results. 

Warren's team is also working on menis- 
cus transplants in animals, using cartilage 
from the recently dead. Preliminary results in 
15 dogs, he says, look "reasonable. As 
far as we can tell, the function appears to 
be normal." 

As far as Warren is concerned, these 
results "at least suggest the possibility of 
using transplants on certain patients"— those 
with unstable ligaments, for example, or 
whose menisci have been removed. "In 
general," Warren says, "I think you're going 
to see more and more of this kind oi trans- 
plant in humans over the next five years. 
We'll be able to use it not only for the 
meniscus but for some ligaments." 

This is good news for the thousands of 
people who have suffered another common 
form of knee injury; stretching and tearing 
of the ligament, the fibrous "strap" that 
holds Ihe femur and tibia together. The 
knee's seven ligaments are extraordinarily 
lough but not especially flexible; a 
stretched ligament tends to stay stretched, 
and it stretched beyond 6 percent of its 
length, it snaps, leaving the entire knee 
vulnerable !o further injury. 

To treat this problem, some orthopedists 
are inserting tiny lattice structures made 
ol cloth or a biocM-gradable i.ispue known as 
collagen. When placed in Ihe space 
between a tear, the theory goes, the lattice 
will support and sustain the growth of 
new ligamenf tissue, which in time could 
rejoin [he two torn ends. 

"Because the structure of the ligament is 
so complex and delicate," Jackson says, 
"we have agreater chance of duplicating it 
if we use living tissue." This technique 
has yielded no significant results to date. 
"But, "says Jackson, "we're working on it," 

A similar technique involves replacing 
the torn ligament with strands of carbon 
fiber. Developed in the late Seventies by 
Andrew Weiss and Harry Alexander, of the 
New Jersey Medical School, in Newark, 
Ihe carbon fiber not only helps stabilize the 




By Jeff Hecht 

The universe is full ol holes. Not 
ordinary holes, but vast, nearly 
spherical voids hundreds of millions 
of light-years across and empty of galax- 
ies. And where Ihere are no holes, there are 
equally vast clusters o! galaxies, often on 
the edges of these voids. 

Because 99 percent of the universe 
seems to be made of these holes, University 
of New Mexico astronomer Jack 0. Burns 
says the universe looks like Swiss cheese. 
He admits that it is not a concept many 
of his fellow astronomers are comfortable 
with. Until recently many rejected this 
strange new view of the universe. But 
research performed in the splendid isolation 
of observatories and at the keyboards of 
computers has tended to support the 
theory that the cosmos is holey. 

This is all the product of a young field of 
observational cosmology that looks at 
what is called the large-scale structure of 
the universe, its colossal voids as well 
as its mammoth agglomerations— super- 
clusters — of stars. Typically its researchers 
concern themselves with anything 
measured in tens or even hundreds of 

light-years. On that scale, galaxies like our 
own are mere dots. By analyzing such 
massive phenomena and by using informa- 
tion about them to build computer models, 
astronomers hope to get a clearer picture of 
how the universe evolved. 

The Swiss-cheese image of the universe 
suggested itself in 1978. when University 
of Arizona astronomer Steve Gregory began 
to find empty expanses of space measur- 
ing millions of light-years across. Then 
in 1981 , Robert R Kirshner, of the University 
of Michigan; August Oemler, of Yale Univer- 
sity; and Paul Schechterand Stephen 
Schectrnan, of the Mount Wilson and Las 
Cartipanas Observatories, went looking 
in what they thought was an average region 
of the universe — the constellation Bootes — 
as part of a study on the density of matter. 
They expected to see approximately 10,000 
galaxies in that area of the sky. Instead 
they found a mammoth spherical void about 
350 million light-years in diameter. 

The discovery of this void stimulated a 
search for other large-scale phenomena. At 
the University of New Mexico, Burns and 
graduate student David Batuski had been 

build models of ow Sw/ss-c 

doing computer analyses of celestial 
observations they had made at the Kitt 
Peak Observatory, near Tucson, Arizona. In 
1983 these men found something even 
more impressive than a giant hole. Looking 
in the direction of the constellations 
Perseus and Pegasus, they found a stringy 
supercluster of galaxies 1 billion light- 
years long, the longest coherent structure 
yet discovered in the universe. 

How did such large-scale formations 
come to be? Burns says they could have 
been the result of something called quantum 
fluctuations, which are believed to have 
occurred during the first 10 to 30 seconds 
of the universe's history, when it was a 
newborn speck of matter barely a millimeter 
in diameter. As the universe expanded, 
gravity held the denser regions together. 
Eventually matter became concentrated as 
a scattering of massive clusters. 

Other astronomers are turning to 
computers to simulate the processes by 
which early fluctuations evolved into the 
current universe. One such simulation, 
developed by Joan Centrella, of the 
University of Texas, and Adrian Melott, of 
the University of Chicago, is able to play out 
the evolution of the universe only by 
oversimplifying some of the physics involved 
and by looking at the universe on a strictly 
large-scale basis. As a result, galaxies — 
and even some small galactic clusters— are 
omitted. Still, each run of one of their 
models takes two to three hours on a 
Cray-1 supercomputer, one of the fastest 
number crunchers in the world. 

So far Centrella's computer work has 
produced simulated superclusters and giant 
holes that would stretch about 100 million 
miles if they were real. Now that their models 
are starting to resemble reality, Centrella, 
Melott, and James Wilson, of the Lawrence 
Livermore National Laboratory, are working 
on a more detailed simulation. 

The large-scale studies are in their early 
stages, and both the model makers and 
the astronomers admit they need more 
observational data and more sophisticated 
models. But they also point out that the 
evidence already presented is good 
enough to make former skeptics believe 
in the Swiss-cheese metaphor.OQ 



■ 0^ ■ hen Omni was very young, I was accosted at a 
H scientific meeting in Edinburgh by one of the 
J world's leading astronomers, who said, as nearly 
WJHF ^■P' as I can remember: "One simply can't lake Omni 
very seriously, old boy, because you print science fiction in it!" 
Before I could remind him that scientists since Johannes Kepler 
have written science fiction and that a great many more of them 
have enjoyed reading it, he scuttled away into the crowd. 

In the intervening years, I have thought long and hard about the 
relationship between science and science fiction. Undoubtedly, 
without science — that organized and methodical pursuit of test- 
able knowledge about the physical world — there would be no sci- 
ence fiction. But science owes quite a bit to science fiction, too. 
The relationship has benefited both sides. 

By science fiction, 1 mean tales in which some aspect of future 
science is so central to the story that without that scientific ele- 
ment, the story would not exist. Think of that archetype of science 
fiction, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Take away the scientific ele- 
ment, and the story collapses. Fantasy does not require scientific 
lore. You don't need physics or chemistry to produce a mytho- 
logical monster or a unicorn, merely imagination Tales of the fan- 
tastic are older, by far, than human history. But science fiction, as 
it is defined nowadays, began with the scientific discoveries of the 
seventeenth century. That is when stories based on the new Co- 
pernican understanding ol the universe first appeared. 

Today, science fiction is not only an accepted part of the con- 
temporary literary scene, it has become a mainstay of the best- 
seller lists and the big-budget movies of Hollywood. Thanks in 
large part to the public's awareness that we live in a high-technol- 
ogy world where scientific miracles fall like rain out of the sky, the 
literature of science — science fiction — is extremely popular. 

But what does science get from science fiction? How do ticket 
sales for 2010 relate to the size of NASAs budget? How does the 
readership of Omni affect the cutting edge of scientific research? 

In two important ways. First, science fiction reinforces the fun- 
damental belief of science that the universe is knowable and that 
our rational minds can unravel its workings. Second, science fic- 
tion excites the imagination of young readers and encourages them 
to become scientifically literate. Science fiction is the liturgy of sci- 
ence. It spells out the basic credo lhat every scientist follows. 

whether conscious of this faith or not. Albert Einstein said it best: 
"The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibiiity." 

To spend your life in scientific research, you must have the rock- 
bottom faith that the universe can be understood; that one and 
one always add up to two; that hydrogen will behave the same 
way for you as it does on the other side of the cosmos, a billion 
light-years away. Science fiction mirrors that faith. Even in its dark- 
est, most foreboding stories, there is the underlying belief that the 
human mind can understand the universe — understand and even 
alter the blind workings of nature. Whether it is ending the age-old 
drought on Dune or boosting the intelligence of moronic Charlie, 
whether it is dealing with Asimov's robots or Heinlein's puppet 
masters, the characters in science-fiction stories use their human 
intellects to bend the course of the universe to their will. 

Science fiction also shows that the end product of scientific re- 
search is exciting, fascinating, and fun. In an age when we wonder 
how to get children to study science and mathematics, the impor- 
tance of science fiction's message may very well be crucial. Sci- 
ence fiction shows the results of science, the thrill of discovery that 
follows the tedious work of exploration. 

Science courses in school start with the very hardest parts of 
science, the monotonous yet important basics, the unglorious yet 
necessary spadework. Science fiction shows what it's like when 
the hard work pays off, when the magnificent invention actually 
works, when your starship arrives at Alpha Centauri, when you 
defeal the aliens and save Earth from annihilation. 

Just about every man who has set foot on the moon started his 
career after reading science fiction as a youngster. Nobel laure- 
ates not only read science fiction, some of them write it. This does 
not mean that everyone who reads science fiction will become a 
scientist or astronaut. It means merely that science fiction is an 
excellent way to make young readers aware of science — its re- 
wards, its dangers, and its central place in a modern technological 
society. Fruitful scientific research cannot take place in a society 
that is scientifically ignorant. That British astronomer who sniffed 
at science fiction owes his government grants, at least in part, to 
a society that has become favorably inclined toward science 
through reading science fiction. — BEN BOVA 

Ben Bova is the former vice president/editorial director of Omni. 



When the Danish navigator 
Jens Munck first sailed into 
the harbor al Churchill, 
Manitoba, Canada, in 1619, 
he was looking for an elusive 
northwest passage to the 
spice-rich Orient. What he 
found instead were hundreds 
of fearsome, shaggy white 

Churchill, which lies on the 
windswept western shore 
of Hudson Bay, 1,200 miles 
north of Chicago, calls itself, 
with ambivalent pride, "ihe 
polar-bear capital of the 
world." No one who's been 
there would dispute that. The 
tiny settlement is at the 
northern edge of a migration 
path over which the great 
white bears have meandered 
for centuries. 

So plentiful have the beasts 
become that the Canadian 
Wildlife Service has con- 
verted an old Quonset hut 
outside of town info a bear jail 
to handle some of the more 
obstreperous of the 1,200 
to 1,500 polar bears who 
troop into Churchill every lall. 

36 OMNI 

There they sit, sometimes 
in a foul temper induced by a 
summer of fasting, waiting 
for the ice to freeze on the 
bay, where they prefer to 
spend the winter dining on 
unwary ringed seals. 

The bear jail became 
necessary for several rea- 
sons. For one thing, the 
ice doesn't always freeze at 
fhe same time every year. 
Even when it does, a warming 
southerly wind can break it 
up and dump -the grumpy 
bears back on shore. When 
that happens, they march 
into town seeking food, 
or head for the garbage 
dump to the east. 'Marauding 
bears can reduce an empty 
summer cabin to kindling 
in minutes. According to con- 
servation officer Donald G. 
Jacobs, of the Manitoba 
Department of Natural Re- 
sources, some of the craftier 
ones seem to know that 
the law protects them from 
being shot unless they attack 
someone, which is rare. 
■ "When we tried to use an 
incinerator instead of the 
dump," he says, "some of 

them actually got inside 
it. They'd walk right through 
the fence. Sometimes there' d 
be twenty or thirty bears 
milling around, and Ihe gar- 
bagemen couldn't get out 
of the truck." 

So Jacobs and his col- 
leagues spend each fall luring 
pesky bears into culvert 
traps baited with seal meat, 
then carting them off to 
the slammer. When the bay 
freezes, they're released 
on the ice. Only when the jail 
gets too crowded are the 
really hard cases flown out in 
helicopter slings and depos- 
ited as far as 200 miles up 
the coast. 

Prisoners in Ihe bear jail's 
20 cells are not permitted 
visitors because the conser- 
vationists don't want them 
to grow too accustomed to 
humans. Only the very young 
or physically run-down 
adults are fed. "We don't want 
them to get the idea that jail 
is a good place to go to 
every fall," says Jacobs. 

Even so, recidivism is a 
problem. One 20-year- 
old bear named Linda has 
been locked up so many 
times that she's famous in 
Churchill. Her various cubs 
have been shipped to zoos 
as far away as Mexico. They 
never find their way back, 
but Linda does. 

—George Nobbe 

"Maybe life isn't tor everyone. " 
—Larry Brown 

"What will happen can't be 
stopped. Aim lor grace. " 

— Ann Beattie 

"II you want to be true to lile, 
start lying about it." 

— John Fowles 


A Stanford University 
computer-operations spe- 
cialist has filed a lawsuit 
to block the United States 
from hooking up a computer 
system that would automati- 
cally launch nuclear missiles 
in response to an incoming 
nuclear attack. 

Clifford Johnson argues 
that it is unconstitutional 
to give war-making power to 
Ihe so-called launch-on- 
warning computer system. 
Johnson recently suffered a 
legal setback when the 
federal district judge declined 
to render a decision. The 
case will now go to the U.S. 
Court of Appeals in San 

"As I see it," Johnson says, 
"this lawsuit is part of a 
slow, long-term process to 
extract people from the 
maze of nuclear technology. 
I'm loosening the first screw," 
he says. "Then maybe some- 

one after me will loosen 
another screw." 

Although the United States 
does not yet officially have 
the capability to deploy 
the launch-on-warning sys- 
tem, the technology to do 
so Is definitely being devel- 
oped by the Pentagon, 
Johnson claims. And, he 
says, Secretary of Defense 
Caspar Weinberger (who 
is the defendant in the law- 
suit) has stated that the 
United States has not closed 
the door on the launch-on- 
warning option. 

Not only does Johnson 
tear that the launch-on-warn- 
ing computer could some- 
how malfunction and start a 
nuclear war, but he points 
out that the satellites and 
radar that would warn the 
computer of an enemy missile 
launch could themselves 
sound a false alert, one that 
the computer would be 
unable to distinguish from the 
real thing. 

"To hook this system up in 
peacetime is, in essence, 
an act of war," Johnson says, 
"because there is a definite 
risk of it going off acciden- 
tally." — Eric Mishara 

"A wondrous dream, a fantasy 
incarnate, fiction completes 
us, mutilated beings bur- 
dened with the awful dichot- 
omy of having only one life 
and the ability to desire 
a thousand." 

— Mario Vargas Llosa 

"If there is hope for men, it is 
because we are animals." 

— Robert Ardrey 

"A nation . . . is just a society 
for hating foreigners. " 

—Olaf Stapledon 


Raising the temperature of 
your head, claims a Califor- 
nia scientist, can improve 
your thinking performance. 

Peter Hancock, an assis- 
tant professor in the safety 
science and human factors 
department of the University 
of Southern California, has 
developed a helmet that 
gradually raises head tem- 
perature 1°C. 

Hancock wanted the 
potential benefits of heat 
without its drawbacks, Rais- 
ing overall body temperature 
increases central-nervous- 
system speed but also 
causes heat stress, an effect 
producing higher than nor- 
mal error rates on perfor- 
mance tests. So Hancock 
devised an apparatus to raise 
head temperature without 
raising body temperature. 

Using the heating helmet 
along with a nonhealing 
placebo helmet, Hancock 
conducted four preliminary 
performance experiments 
on 50 people of varying 
ages. Hancock tested his 

subjects' reaction time to a 
light board as well as their 
visual-search ability (finding 
an e on a printed page full 
of f's, for example) and their 
skills in simple mathematical 
and time-estimation tasks. 
Performance speed among 
people wearing the special 
heating helmet improved 6 to 
13 percent, depending on 
the task. 

Hancock points out that 
the correlation between body 
temperature and human 
performance is due to circa- 
dian rhythms, vestiges of 
mans early evolution. Such 
rhythms may be liabilities 
to modern man. a creature in 
the habit oi working at all 
hours of the day and night. 
The heating helmet, he says, 
promises io alter one such 
rhythm. It may even get rid 
of the age-old distinction 
between "larks and owls." 
morning people and night 
people.— Stephen Robinett 

"History is a thin garment, 
easily punctured by a knife 
blade called Now." 

— Graham Swift 


A Paris court recently 
awarded a widow the right to 
her late husband's sperm 
so that she could conceive 
his child. The widow, Corrine 
Parpalaix, sued a French 
sperm bank when it refused 
to give her the seed of her 
late husband, Alain Parpalaix. 

He had made the sperm- 
bank deposit after being 
diagnosed for testicular can- 
cer, the disease that eventu- 
ally killed him. but he didn't 
provide for disposition of the 
sperm in his will. 

But trial testimony of rela- 
tives established that the 
husband had wanted his wife 
to bear their common child, 
even if conception occurred 
after his death. Sperm "is 
a human secretion," the Paris 
court noted, "that contains 
the seed of life and is des- 
tined to create a human 
being." By making his deposit 
at the sperm bank, the hus- 
band had created a "specific 
contract" for the safekeeping 
and eventual return of his 
sperm, concluded the court. 
(Mrs. Parpalaix was later 
inseminated with the sperm 
of her late husband, but 
fertilization did not occur,) 

Increasing numbers of men 
are making sperm-bank 
deposits, says attorney Lori 
Andrews, author of New 
Conceptions (St. Martin's 
Press). "These men don't 
consider what happens to the 
sperm if they die. In the 
United States," she says, 
"sperm banks, unless so in* 
structed by the husband's 
will, normally don't give 
the sperm to the widow." 

Instead, she says, they just 
"let ii defrost." — Eric Mishara 



Sudden infant death syn- 
drome, or SIDS. claims 
the lives of 6,000 to 7,000 
babies each year in the 
United States. It's the leading 
cause of death in infants 
under one year old, and its 
cause or causes are still 

Now a new clue has sur- 
faced. Canadian medical 
researchers led by Dr. D. G. 
Perrin have found a major 
difference in the levels of the 
brain chemical dopamine 
in the bodies of infants who 
have died of S!DS. The 
victims had up to ten times 
as much dopamine in their 
carotid bodies, located 
next to the carotid arteries, 
as did infants who had died of 
non-SIDS causes. 

The carotid arteries carry 
blood to (he brain, and the 
researchers call the tenfold 
increase in dopamine near 
those arteries "particularly 
striking." Earlier experiments 
have shown that among 
other things, dopamine injec- 
tions in humans and animals 
reduce breathing by acting 
directly on the carotid bodies. 

Apnea, or cessation of 
breathing, is almost always a 

symptom of SIDS deaths. 
The new study hints that 
these very high levels of do- 
pamine might cause apnea 
and thus SIDS. 

Some people, though, are 
skeptical. Says Bonnie Nel- 
son, a county health nurse in 
Washington State who coun- 
sels grieving parents of SIDS 
victims: "A lot of SIDS studies 
don't have enough people 
in either the study group 
or the control group." The new 
report is based on autopsies 
of 13SIDSmfanisandfive 

SIDS researcher Perrin is 
also caulious. The extraordi- 
narily high dopamine levels, 
he says, may themselves 
be only an effect of the real— 
and still unknown— cause 
of SIDS.— Joel Davis 

"Every thought is a feat of 
association. " 

— Robert Frost 

"Money has proved the most 
dangerous o! man's 
hallucinogens. " 

— Lewis Mumford 

"We do not know more about 
mankind than ancient 
philosophers did, although 
we have more details" 

— Eugene Weber 


That narrow band of space 
where satellites roam is 
beginning to resemble an 
alley on New Year's Day. But 
instead of empty beer cans, 
space is crowding up with 
its own special brand of 
debris: everything from 
burned-out rocket engines to 
dead satellites. In fact, ac- 
cording to a new study by the 

Santa Monica, California- 
based Rand Corporation, this 
"space congestion" could 
have dire consequences here 
on Earth. 

Rand's A. L Hiebert says 
that when satellites are too 
close together— for example, 
when they are shifted to 
avoid hitting another object — 
they can pick up radio trans- 
missions that were intended 
for their neighbors. Their 
inability to sort out these sig- 
nals could lead to mass 
electronic confusion. If some 
crisis (say. a nuclear war) 
were to occur, military satel- 
lites would be overloaded 
with competing signals, 
causing disruption of critical 
data transmission. 

So far 15,000 pieces of 
space junk have been identi- 
fied, including more than 
1.200 active and inactive sat- 
ellites. Since NASA is charg- 
ing $35 million to bring 
down a single troubled satel- 
lite, the cost of salvaging 
the entire junkyard is ob- 
viously prohibitive. 

But there are at least two 
techniques that could keep 
the problem from getting any 
worse. One is to engineer 
rocket fuel so as to avoid ex- 
plosions, which create hun- 
dreds of small pieces — 
and problems — instead of 
one large one. The second, 
and perhaps more promis- 
ing, is an international plan 
currently under negotiation 
that would require all satellites 
to carry enough extra fuel 
so at the poini of "death" they 
could be fired out of harm's 
way into a deep-space 
graveyard.— Bili La wren 

"Light is darkness, lit up. " \ The Frozen Sea Expedition: / 

— John Bradbury I triumph lor mixed pairs. 


On expeditions requiring 
long periods of isolation, male- 
female pairs seem to per- 
form better and with less 
stress than individuals do. 

In a study that may have 
implications for space expe- 
ditions, University of Virginia 
anthropologist Marianne 
George observed small- 
group dynamics during the 
yearlong Frozen Sea Expedi- 
tion to Antarctica, 

Led by physician, author, 
and explorer Dr. David Lewis, 
the four men and two women 
were the first people in 
nearly 50 years to intentionally 
spend winter aboard a ship 
in Antarctic ice. Part of the 
team traveled through 850 
miles of sea ice by sled, 
observing break patterns and 
collecting biological and 
weather data. 

"The two male-female 
couples were highly stable 
and effective working teams," 
George says, while the two 
unattached males "became 

antagonistic to the expedi- 
tion's aims." At one point, the 
two men did not wash for 
six months, and they slept 
hours longer than other team 
members. Eventually, they 
were relieved of many duties 
and did not accompany 
the sled crews. 

George believes sexual 
trust ration was a minor factor 
and attributes difficulties 
the two men experienced to 
personality and motivational 
problems. Although a lengthy 
trial sail did not foreshadow 
the expedition's problems, 
George said that simulations 
"as close as possible lo 
the real thing" might help 
avoid similar trouble. 

Noting that her study is 
without statistical validity, 
George said it is difficult to 
reproduce the stress caused 
by lite-lhreatening danger 
in simulations. 

Both she and Lewis rec- 
ommend that "nominal quali- 
fications should be a sec- 
ondary consideration on 
pioneering expeditions. Inex- 
perienced but positively 
motivated people can ... rise 
to a high level of achieve- 
ment."— Allan Maurer 

"Euphoria spreads over our 
culture like the broad grin 
of an idiot." 

—Robert Warshow 


Five years ago. first-grader 
Elan Patz set out to catch a 
school bus in New York Cily's 
fashionably funky SoHo 
district. But; a kidnapper ap- 
parently intervened, and 
Patz has not been seen since. 
Law-enforcement officials 
find that one of the most 

At left, Etari Patz as he looked live years ago. At right, a 
computer-warped projection of what he might look tike today. 

difficult aspects of the on- 
going search is lhat Patz is 
now eleven, with the facial 
features of a preteen. making 
his five-year-old photographs 
hopelessly outdated. 

Enter New York conceptual 
artist Nancy Burson and 
her Face Systems, Inc. In 
1981 Burson patented an in- 
genious procedure whereby 
a photograph can be 
"stretched" to predict what 
the subject will look like in the 
future. In Burson's technique 
a TV camera scans the 
subject's face, then feeds 
that visual information to a 
digitizer, which translates it 
into computer language. 
The computer then "warps" 
the face in a way that imitates 
the effects of aging. 

Law-enforcement officials 
immediately became inter- 
ested, and Burson soon 
constructed updated com- 
puter photos of three missing 
children. A Burson photo of 
twelve-year-old Floridian 
Dee Scofield was shown on 
national television, resulting 
in several sightings of the 
missing girl. These cases 
prompted the FBI's interest 
and Burson's subsequent 
involvement in the case of 
Etan Patz. 

But the system has another 
application. New York plastic 
surgeon Dr. Barry Weintraub 
is using a Burson setup to 
show patients how they 
will look after cosmetic sur- 
gery. "It can take the wrinkles 
off your face," Burson says, 
"shorten your nose, even 
reduce your breasts. For 
plastic surgeons, it'll be an 
ail-purpose tool." 

— Bill Lawren 

'We have art in order not to 
die ot the truth." 

—Friedrich Nietzsche 


On January 17, 1977, the 
state of Utah played the 
executioner's song for con- 
demned killer Gary Gilmore 
Apparently, the whole coun- 
try was listening: Over the 
four days following Gilmore's 
death by firing squad the 
national homicide rate 
dropped by a statistically 
significant 5 percent. 

This "Gilmore effect" is 
one of the highlights of a new 
sludy by David Phillips, a 
sociologist at the University 
of California at San Diego. 
Earlier. Phillips had shown that 
heavily publicized boxing 

matches seem to precipitate 
a rise in the nafional homi- 
cide rates. "Because boxing 
rewards violent behavior," 
Phillips says, "I wanted to see 
what happens lo homicide 
rates after heavily publicized 
events in which violent be- 
havior is punished." 

Correlating figures from 
the National Center for Health 
Statistics with "public punish- 
ments," Phillips found thai 
"there is indeed an average 
drop of about ten percent 
in homicide rates during the 
four days after publicized 
harsh punishments." In 
contrast, unpublicized harsh 
punishments had no effect 
on the murder rate, 

For those who would herald 
these findings as proof of 
capital punishment's deterrent 
effect, Phillips has a word 
of caution. "The heavyweight 
question," he says, "is, 
Does capital punishment 
have a greater deterrent ef- 
fect than life sentences? 
I found that the murder rate 
dropped just as significantly 
after highly publicized life 
sentences as it did after exe- 
cutions." — Bill Lawren 



I! you're an orator, there's a 
good chance you're right- 
faced. If you're musical. 
you're probably left-faced. 

Facedness, a newly de- 
fined feature of brain-hemi- 
sphere dominance, is based 
on observations ol lip. tongue, 
and jaw movemenls. Right- 
faced people make more use 
of the right side of the face. 
While speaking, they raise the 
right brow a bit higher than 
the left, and [hey often turn 
the head to the left when 
speaking to display more of 
the right side of the face. 
For left-faced persons, these 
features are reversed. 

Karl U. Smith, emeritus 
professor of psychology at 
the University of Wisconsin- 
Madison, uses direct obser- 
vation and static clues to 
determine facedness. "In a 
right-faced person, the 
jaw and the brow are closer 
together on the left side 
than en the right," he says. 
"The dominant side tends to 
be more open." 

People with an aptitude for 

40 OMNI 

rhythm, harmony, and perfor- 
mance — musicians, for 
instance— tend to be left- 
faced, says Smith. People 
with good speaking skills — 
like politicians — tend to 
be right-faced 

According to Smith, faced- 
ness is genetic and appears 
at birth, as opposed to 
handedness, which may not 
appear until the age of three. 
Since perceptual develop- 
ment is intricately linked 
to lateral dominance and 
since infants begin to learn 
speech almost immediately, 
the study of facedness 
could lead to a better under- 
standing of dyslexia, speech 
disabilities, and other learn- 
ing disorders. 

Smith sees facedness as 
the first "concrete, objective 
basis for reading cerebral 
dominance. That's something 
that handedness could 
never provide." 

—Paul Dusseaul! 

"How narrow our souls be- 
come when absorbed in any 

present good or ill! It is only 
the though! of the future 
that makes them great. " 

— Johann Paul Richter 


A great culture flourishes 
in the volcanic Cauca Valley 
region of Colombia and 
Ecuador centuries before the 
birth of Christ. Then one 
day, 2,500 years ago, the 
mountains burst into explosive 
violence, and all traces of 
this ancient people vanish. 

It sounds like the premise 
of an Indiana Jones movie. 
which only shows that life 
sometimes foreshadows pop 
art. The lost culfure is called 

Classic Quimbaya. Until 
recently, the only evidence of 
its existence was a remark- 
able collection of gold ob- 
jects, the most elegant in the 
New World and by far the 
most technologically sophis- 
ticated, made by a complex 
casting process called the 
lost-wax technique. Most of 
the pieces are small con- 
tainers worn around the neck 
to carry the lime that South 
American Indians chew 
with coca leaves. 

Archaeologists assumed 
that this technologically 
advanced society must have 
developed sometime be- 
tween ad 400 and 800. Now 
it appears that date has to 
be pushed back a full millen- 
nium. Graduate studenl 
John Isaacson has discov- 
ered an ash -cove red town 
whose inhabitants traded with 
the Quimbaya. The town 
was occupied from 1500 B.C. 
until it was destroyed by 
an eruption in 600 ac— 1,000 
years before the rise of the 
Inca and Maya. 

The eruption that buried 
the newly excavated town 
was one ol a series that. 
devastated the entire Cauca 

Valley. Donald Lathrap, 
professor of anthropology at 
the University of Illinois, 
believes the Quimbaya fled 
in all directions, bringing 
metal technology to the much 
more primitive people in 
Peru, Central America, and, 
ultimately. Mexico. 

No one knows what else 
they might have passed 
on. The only information we 
have about the Classic 
Quimbaya at present is that 
they were brilliant metallurg- 
ists who did coke. "This 
small area of a small town is 
our first look under the ash." 
says Lathrap, "so we're in 
the position of trying to figure 
out what New York looks 
like with the evidence from 
an Illinois farmhouse." 

— Leah Wallach 

"History contains no tacts 
but those that are the most 
thoroughly improbable from 
the standpoint of probability 
theory. " 

— Stanislaw Lem 

" lis not too late tomorrow to 
be brave." 

—John Armstrong, in 

The Art of Preserving Health 


Someday you may be able 
to buy an ounce of cancer 
prevention in a bar of bath 
soap. So say Ohio Slate 
University researchers study- 
ing multistage cancer devel- 
opment. Many cancers, 
they believe, are caused by a 
Iwo-step process. First, a 
carcinogen alters a cell's 
chromosomes. "Still, the cell 
may remain viable for years." 
explains Dr. Harold Weiss. 
Then, later, a " promoter" 
substance kicks the trans- 
formed cell into wild, cancer- 
ous reproduction, 

Though some carcinogens 
can act as their own pro- 
moters, Weiss thinks it is more 
common (or a person to be 
exposed to a carcinogen 
once and then to a promoter 
at a later time, 

During their experiments, 
the researchers discovered a 
chemical that vastly inhibited 
skin cancer on mice that 
had been exposed to both a 
potent carcinogen and 
promoters. When the pro- 
moters were dissolved in the 

common industrial and 
research solvent loulene, 75 
percent fewer cancers oc- 
curred than when a solvent 
with neither a promoting 
nor inhibiting effect was used. 

The inhibiling effect was 
not permanent. "The toulene 
had to be applied regularly," 
Weiss said. Ironically, the 
chemical is itself a mild pro- 
moter. "Whether it's better 
to be exposed to a weak 
promoter to avoid a strong 
one is something we can't 
answer right now," Weiss said. 
But, he adds, the research 
may point the way lo devel- 
oping substances that if 
applied regularly would inhibit 
cancer promoters without 
such drawbacks. 

At some point in the future, 
Wei-s speculates, it may 
be possible to include can- 
cer-inhibiting substances 
in soap or other cosmetics, 
though they would have 
to be chemically compati- 
ble. — Allan Maurer 

"We are at times too ready to 
believe that the present is 
the only possible state ol 

—Marcel Proust 


Can a computer memory 
be designed that would 

imitate human memory? 

A typical computer mem- 
ory can be likened to a 
very tall, very skinny library 
of 100,000 floors, with one 
book stored per floor. To get 
information out, all we have 
to know is the floor it's stored 
on. This is known as "ad- 
dressable memory." Bui our 
brains don'! work like that. 

Our brains retrieve informa- 
tion like this: Let's see, uh, his 
name started with an M , / 
think . . , he was from La Jolla, 
or La Honda, or maybe it 
was La Canada, something 
with a La in it . . . and anyway, 
he kept a baby alligator in 
the bathtub, and one time it 
bit his date, what's her 
name — Donna— with the 
pink Mustang— uh, uh. Maur- 
ice . . . Maurice Quacken- 

Now, though, California 
Institute of Technology bio- 
physicist John Hopfield has 
written a computer program 
that remembers like hu- 
mans—sort of. He has built a 
computer memory out of 
the mathematical equivalent 
of neurons. Ihe brain's cellu- 
lar building blocks. 

"The system has one hun- 
dred 'neurons,' " explains 
Hopfield, "each of which at 
any time has a value of zero 
or one. One means on, 
firing. Zero means it's not 
firing. Some of the neurons 
are making inhibitory con- 
nections to the off neurons to 
keep them off. Some make 
connections to the firing 
neurons to keep them firing. 

The memories are in the 
pattern of the connections. " 

With a set of equations, 
Hopfield has endowed a 
computer with the ability to 
set up simple neural nets the 
way the brain does, to re- 
member and forget, free-as- 
sociate, and even create 
false memories. "Every mem- 
ory is embedded in many 
connections," explains Hop- 
field, "and each connection 
is involved in several memo- 
ries." The result is a system 
that can use incomplete 
information to find a memory. 

Of course, the brain's 
neurons are organic, whereas 
those in Hopfield 's program 
are mathematical/electrical. 
Also, the Caltech program 
has only 100 neurons; the hu- 
man brain has upward of 
100 billion. 

Still, Hopfield has achieved 
organic intelligence of sorts 
in his computer. He's trained 
it to act like a limax, a garden 
slug that can be conditioned 
to avoid potatoes, 

— Judith Hooper 

"Honesty's praised, then left 
to freeze. " 


A futuristic. computer might think like this: "Square rootol 
sixteen? Six, right? No. roots are round. Wait! I've got il. Four!" 



Soon you may no longer 
have to take your eyes off the 
road lo read your car's in- 
strument panel. Instead, 
holographic images of your 
speedometer, tachometer, 
and fuel gauge will be pro- 
jected out over the road, 
in front of the car hood. 

Heads-up instrument dis- 
plays are holographic-imag- 
ing systems originally devel- 
oped so that fighter pilots 
wouldn't have to take their 
eyes off the sky. Now several 
car makers in America and 
Japan are investigating 
or developing this technology 
for automobiles. 

Advanced Dimensional 
Displays (ADD), a Van Nuys, 
California, company staffed 
by holographers formerly 
with Wall Disney Productions, 
is working with the Ford 
Motor Company on a flip- 
down holographic screen that 
wouldmerge images from 
an electronic display with a 
view of the road ahead. 
But rather than superimpose 

42 OMNI 

your gauges over oncoming 
traflic (an obvious safety 
problem). ADD's heads-up 
display would project them 
forward about 40 teet, and 
also downward, so that your 
speed and fuel level would 
appear beyond the front 
edge of the car hood and 
down on the pavement. 

The 40-foot distance is im- 
portant, explains ADD's 
Chris Outwater, because the 
human eye focuses pretty 
much the same for 40 feet as 
it does for infinity. The prob- 
lem with conventional instru- 
ment panels, says Outwater, 
is not so much that the driver 
has to take his eyes off the 
road but that he must con- 
stantly refocus his eyes 
to read the gauges. 

Outwater estimates that 
the holographic dashboard 
displays could begin appear- 
ing in high-end models of 
consumer cars within the next 
few years. 

ADD's biggest challenge is 
to cut the cost of the system. 
Current military models run 
about $70,000. Using new 
methods to manufacture the 
holograms and simpler 
electronic displays, the con- 
sumer version should add 
$500 to SI, 000 to-.lhe car's 
sticker price when Ihe first 
models appear. — Tim Onosko 

"Artists never thrive in colo- 
nies. Ants do. What the 
budding artist needs is the 
privilege oi wrestling with his 
problems in solitude — and 
now and then a piece of 
red meat." 

—Henry Miller 

"God is lor men and religion 
for women. " 

. — Joseph Conrad 


The researcher places a 
nervous cat in a metal box. 
Next to the box is an odd 
machine, a collection of World 
War ll-vintage tubes and 

The researcher throws the 
switch, the machine hums, 
and within a few minutes the 
cat calms down and stares 
transfixed at the walls of 
the box. It remains in this 
zombielike trance for as long 
as 20 to 30 minutes after 
the machine is turned off. 

The Jerry L. Pettis Memorial 
Veterans Hospital, of Loma 
Linda, California, is testing 
just such a device. The 
machine, called a Lida, was 
developed in the Soviet 
Union and is on loan to the 
hospital as part of a U.S./ 
U.S.S.R. medical exchange 
program. The Russian- 
language manual that came 
with the Lida refers to it as 
a "distant pulse treatment 
apparatus" for psychological 
problems. It's used in Soviet 
clinics to treat such problems 

as insomnia, hypertension, 
and "neurotic disturbances." 
(There is also speculation 
that the Soviets have an 
advanced version of the ma- 
chine that can be used for 
mind control at a distance. 
See "The Mind Fields," 
by Kathleen McAuliffe. Feb- 
ruary 1985.) 

The concept of the Lida is 
as simple as its tube technol- 
ogy. The machine broad- 
casts powerful radio waves 
in Ihe 40-megahertz band. 
These low-frequency waves 
simulate the brain's own 
electromagnetic emissions 
during periods of deep sleep. 
When placed in proximity 
to the Lida, a laboratory 
animal's brain waves, heart- 
beat, and respiration slow 
down. "It looks as though in- 
stead of taking a Valium," 
says Dr. Ross Adey, chief of 
research at the hospital, 
"it would be possible to 
achieve a similar result, prob- 
ably in a safer way. by using 
a radio field." 

The Lida has not yet been 
approved for use on humans 
in this country. According 
to Adey, however, the Soviets 
have been using it to treat 
people lor perhaps 25 
years. — Nick Engler 

"If men were to become even 
uniformly mad, they might 
agree tolerably well with 
each other. " 

—Francis Bacon 

"The miracle is that the 
universe created a part of 
itself to study the rest of 
it, and that this part, in study- 
ing itself, finds the rest of 
the universe, in its own natural 
inner realities." 

—John C. Lilly 

■*** <* «* ' »< ^**Vfc.» 




A firewalker's burning desire: to 

ga/n control or his wor 

tographers, a TV news crew, a fire marshal, 
two security guards, a maid, a maintenance 
man, one oi the hotel's managers, and sev- 
eral of Robbins's staff mill about. 

"This is a particularly difficult group." says 
Richard Greene, Robbins's attorney and 
spokesman. Greene hangs close to the fire. 
Suffering from the flu, he has just dragged 
himself from bed and driven to Palm Springs 
(or the firewalk. "Tony's been having a hard 
time getting them ready. Some groups seem 
to get the feeling quickly, but this has been 
one of the hardest." 

A few minutes later a messenger emerges 
from the hotel, and two young men set to 
work with shovels. They load the uncon- 
■sumed logs and about half the glowing coals 
into a wheelbarrow that 'hey park in a roped- 
off spot a short distance away. On parallel 
beds of wet sod they spread the remaining 
coals in two tracks about three feet wide by 
ten feet long. They rake the coals evenly and 
beat them flat with the back of the shovel, 
sending explosions of sparks into the air. "He 
doesn't want it too hot." one explains with 
unexpected candor. 

The two fire tenders are still working when 
the doors of the building swing open and a 
wave of music pours out, followed by Rob- 
bins and his stomping, snorting, yelping dis- 
ciples, It's a mixed group: children, several 
elderly people, a liberal dose of yuppies, 
middle-aged men and women. Their feel are 
bare, and they roll their pants legs above 
their calves. Stripped of all inhibitions, they 
prance and toss themselves about. Many 

Above: Firewalkers in Tahiti Hop) and Fiji (bot- 
tom); Tony Robbins hotfooting it with John But- 
fington and Tee 1 Pa_ssanante, two ot his stallers. 
Next page: A Greek liredancer prepares fiis 
stage (top), liredancer in a stale o( trance (bot- 
tom): a Robbins disciple is urged on (far right). 
46 OMNI 

breathe noisily and carry one fist clenched 
at the end of a rigid arm. 

Robbins leads a chant. "Repeat after me! 
As I take the lirst step . . ." 

"As I take the first slep!" 

"My body will do . . ." 

"My body will do!" 

"Whatever it takes . . ." 

"Whatever it takes!" 

"To protect itself!" 

"To protect itself!" 

Channeling the followers into two lines, 
Robbins then moves to the end of one pyre. 
Robbins raises his eyes, sucks in some air. 
squares his shoulders, and with a brisk, de- 
termined walk, strides across the coals. He 
navigates the path in lour or five steps. At 
the end. where two helpers wait with a 
spraying hose, he wipes his feet on Ihe wet 
grass to extinguish any burning flecks that 

might remain on his soles. Planting his legs 
apart, he punches downward with his right 
hand and shakes himself. 

A wild cheer goes up. 

He stations himself beside the lirst person 
in line, and one of his staff takes the same 
position at the other line. He towers over the 
neophyte, pouring a stream of encourage- 
ment into her ear. "Now! Slronger than you've 
ever been before! You have it!" he shouts, 

And the young woman — fist raised, gaz- 
ing upward, chanling "Cool moss!" and 
slriding with a rigid, stanling posture she has 
probably never used before— crosses the 
bed of coals into a net of waiting arms and 
cries ot "You did it!" and "Wipe your feet!" 

The atmosphere is electric: The growing 
crowd of those who have passed success- 
fully now shares the ordeal of each new ir ' 
tiate. Shrieks go up as the ecstasy leaks out 

of people. The coals darken. Soon incan- 
descent lumps are the exception. Looking 
upward, some walkers start on a wrong 
heading and stray off the bed. Almost all walk 
strangely: some stiffly, some leaning for- 
ward from the waist, some almost running. 
Some walkers shout "Cool moss!' Others 
whisper it. None linger on the coals. 

A young woman with a I ess- than -robust 
air balks once, twice: Robbins keeps at her 
"You can! You have it!" She finally walks. A 
huge cheer goes up (She alone will later 
admit publicly to having blistered.) 

By the lime the last disciple pads across, 
only a few incandescent coals remain. Rob- 
bins signals for fresh coals. A new bed is 
laid and smoothed. II glows an almost un- 
interrupted orange. He takes three or lour 
deep breaths, exhales powerfully, and 
strides across the path with a measured 

walk. There is a scintillation of strobes: His 
feel, turned by Ihe flashes to a corpselike 
blue, seem to dance jerkily across the coals. 
But there can be no doubt: Anthony Robbins 
walks on fire. Many of his followers will say 
he has changed their lives. They feel pow- 
erful, euphoric, rejuvenated, cleansed. 
Professionals credit the experience with in- 
creasing iheir incomes; ihe elderly, with re- 
Iiet from chronic forget lulness, nearsight- 
edness, backache, and their reliance on 
■^eciical aoctors. 

"It turned my life around," says Charlotte 
Hale, eighty-two, oi Los Angeles, "It's some- 
thing greater than confidence; it's reassur- 
ance that anything is possible." 

The primitive rite does seem miracu- 
lous—alter all. there are no unguents, no 
tricks, just flesh and coals. But is firewalking 
really a victory ol mind over matter? Is ihe 

perception of pair ic^poraniy blocked dur- 
ing the firewalk, only to surlace later? Or can 
science explain — perhaps expose— the 
rite's mysteries? Omni's research into the 
phenomenon suggests that where there is 
smoke, there is not necessarily lire. 

Unlike levitalion, walking on water, or 
spoon bending, firewalking occurs regularly 
in public locations all over the world, and it 
has been observed by the sympathetic and 
the skeptical. It has appeared in disparate 
cultures without evident points of contact: in 
Greece and Bulgaria; in Spain; in Brazil and 
Belize: in Trinidad, Tahiti, and Japan; in Fiji, 
China, India, and Sri Lanka; and in many 
places in the United States, from California 
and New Mexico to New York. 

Investigators have long challenged fire- 
walkers' special abilities, In 1935 represen- 
tatives of the British Medical Association 
journeyed to Fiji to observe islanders troop 
about on handball-size volcanic stones that 
had been heated among burning logs. The 
doctors agreed that the stones were hot, that 
the dancers indeed trod upon them, and that 
they neither took opiates nor donned any 
protection. Furthermore, the dancers' feet did 
not burn. Immediately before the ceremony 
and afterward, as a sort of impromptu con- 
trol, the doctors applied burning cigarettes 
to the soles of a few iirewalkers. The Fijians 
"reacted normally" — that is, they flinched 
and their feet blistered. The doctors said that 
while Tantrist Hindu coalwalkers, whom they 
had also observed, go into a "trance," Fiji- 
ans do not. They could give no explanation 
for the firewalkers' lack of injuries. 

Decades later, the Fijians realized the 
commercial possibilities of their skill; in 1973 
they took their act on the road for 37 ap- 
pearances in hotels in Hawaii and Canada, 

Another nest ol Iirewalkers exists in sev- 
"eral villages in northern Greece. In the small 


lown ol Lankadas. rhey perform an annual 
rile that involves music, daecinc. [he sacri- 
fice of a bull, and, lately, a sizable delegation 
ot journalists, scientists, and curious on look- 
ers. The lirewalkers complain ol Ihaeoiyl 
burdens, including he rs;ng cost oi suitable 
black bulls and ropes for crowd control, 

Thefirewalkers of Lankadas carry effigies 
of certain saints with them and are said to 
spend half an hour or more on the coals. 
They claim the saints protect them from 
burns, butthe iocal bishop, with a fairly sure 
anthropological instinct, considers the activ- 
ity pagan and has "nod to discourage it. He's 
been unsuccessful thus far. 

In antiquity, nrewa king was a rile of spring. 
Sir James Frazer suggested in Ihe Golden 
■ Bough that the idea was to warm the. god. 
effigies the walkers carried and thereby re- 
mind the sun gods to warm the earth and 
Ihe crops. Frazer ! s explanation is uncon- 
vincing: It would seem that merely lighting a 
fire in front of a statue ought to have done 
the trick. The exposure of human partici- 
pants to the rigors of fire has a more obvious 
purpose: It impaesihe magical power of the 
ceremony to humans. 

In the biblical story of Shadrach, Me- 
shach, and Abednego, a mysterious fourth 
figure joins the three brothers o! Daniel in the 
fiery furnace. He represents divine power. 
Theill-temperec Nebuchadnezzar, who has 
had them tossed into the fire, interprets their 
indemnity as proof of their righteousness. 
They have passed the thai by fire. 

Trial by fire is having a renaissance, its re- 
ligious Irappings have been discarded. But 
the movement has several prophets, of which 
the most ambitious, conspicuous, and dra- 
matic is undoubtedly Anthony Robbins. 

Like Other firewalking ; nst motors in the 
United States, Robbins claims to sell free- 
dom from tear. He insists that' firewalking is 
ancillary — the advertisement, not the prod- 
uct. But il has mace him somewhat famous 
and quite rich, gotten him onto television and 
into magazines, and impressed his name 
upon the minds of many people who do not 
ordinarily take so t imprevomonl seminars. 

Robbins is twenty-four years old. He left 
Glendora High School, near Los Angeles, 
shortly before graduating, resigning the 
posl — of which he is still proud — of student 
body president. Hewasa"shrimp,"hesays, 
when he started high school, but when he 
left, he was a near-giant, six foot six with 
huge, fleshy hands, size-16feet, and the big, 
clean-shaven jaw ol G.I. Joe. His propor- 
tions work well on a stage, like the exagger- 
ated masks ot No players. 

His seminars— they are really more like 
revival meetings— are of various forms, and 
sizes. He claims to have taught firewalking 
to 15,000 people, most of them through, a 
four-hour session called "Fear into Power: 
The Firewalk Experencc' ($ 100). About 100 
people .attend each seminar. 

For $2,900 you can spend two weeks with 
him at a vacation retreat and become a 
"neurolinguistics professional," ■ 

Robbins conducts the seminars with an 
energy that is torrential, tidal. (The knowl- 

edge thai one is n rv. no, '1-2 viOO an hour may 
have a stimulating effect,) Like tenderleet 
shooting rapids in a raft, his clients have little 
time to wonder where they are being taken 
or why they agreed to go. 

By overcoming their tear Of walking on 
coals. Robbins says, clients will learn to call 
upon hidden courage, This quality will per- 
mit them to gain love, linancial success, and 
"personal power." Robbins is not modest 
about his own power. Using a jargon com- 
posed oi words whose normal meaning he 
moones or disca'os. he claims Ta: after a 
brief observation period, he can know the 
"syntax'' of a person's thoughts. In effect, he 
claims to be able to duplicate that person's 
expertise or accomplishments. 

He harps' upon the speed with which he 
says he can change people, It usually takes 
5 to' 15 minutes to eftect cures of various 
neuroses, phobias, and other behavioral 
problems — he is the "one-stop therapist," 
Stubborn problems like coma or autism may 
require from 15 io 45 minutes. Robbins also 

»/n 1935 members of 

the British Medical Association 

went to Fiji to 

watch islanders traverse hot 

volcanic stones. 

The doctors could give no 

reason for the 

Fijians' lack of injuries.^ 

asserls thai he halved the time spent by the 
U.S. Army to train marksmen. 

Some ol his cairns are as difficult to verify 
as to believe. Spokesmen from the Penta- 
gon, Army Training and Doctrine Command, 
and the Fort Benn.ng '"arksn ianship school 
say iha; -.'airing times have recenlly been 
increased, not reduced, and that they can't 
recall an Anthony Robbins. Robbins himself 
hints darkly that the Army wanlstoi keep his 
conlribution hush-hush. 

Robbins attributes his remarkable pow- 
ers io 'noiroii-'yusiic programming," or IMLR 
which he describes as a "technology" for 
understanding ano hlljcncing others. He 
takes pleasure in describing how he can 
manipulate people's'behavior by giving them 
subliminal cues through his "physiology" and 
through language. 

NLP was developed by a therapist and 
linguist and is 'based on the techniques of 
.several famous psyohoTerapists: Milton Er- 
ickson, Virgina Sate. Gregory Bateson. and 
Frilz Perls. Unlike some- of the more tradi- 
tional psychotherapists, those touting NLP 
attach less importance to discovering the 
origins, or "content, "ofthe problem, prefer- 
ring .to attack its "structure" directly through 

hypnotic techniques are other psychother- 
apeutic methods. Some therapists consider 
this technique cancerousiv manipulative and 
question its iheerelical basis. But its more 
modest practitioners say that its power is 
exaggerated — that it's no more dangerous 
lhan .any other kind of knowledge and lhatit 
is but dne of a number of valuable therapeu- 
tic tools. 

Robbins's longer seminars include sev- 
eral hours on diet and health. He mixes some 
malernal-soundng prescriptions-— regular 
exercise, deep breathing, lots of green veg- 
etables— with a bizarre theory of disease. 
This stew he serves to his clients is sea- 
soned with vehemen! arguments against the 
consumption of milk ("Cow pus! Do you want 
to be a. cow-sucker?"), fermented toods 
("They stink; they're rotten!"), and meat, 
which he insists gets its flavors irom urea 
and colonic flora that travel osmotically 
through the cadaver of the slaughtered ani- 
mal ("Do you want to eat the urine and shit 
of corpses?"). Denying the existence of in- 
fection, Robbies odds :hat all oisease is due 
io environmental toxins, faulty mental atti- 
tudes, or improper nutrition. 

Robbins's rapl lislere-'s appear to accept 
his assertions. And they soak up Robbins's 
enthusiasm. Vivdly cha'ismalie tie- works the 
crowd with untinng zos 1 . and easy skill. Firsl 
he strides the stage like an athletic Mick 
Jagger, delivering nis gag lines with the tim- 
ing of a stage comedian, then he murmurs 
confidences into a microphone while 
slouching, for a rare rest, on a bar stool. He 
leads the crowd in sing. eg. clapp'eg. 'lug- 
ging, and dancing; he plays silly, congenial 
parlor games with them; in a passage of in- 
spired hokeyness he slams his list karate 
fashion through a couple of pine boards. 
Many of his aliens consider Robbins to be 
sufficient testimonial for his prescriptions. 

Early in the session Robbins announces 
lhat he will give the audience subliminal 
commands that will enable them, when the 
time comes, to "do the impossible" — to walk 
on fire. Laterhe conducts a full-fledged hyp- 
notic induction. His clients lie on Ihe floor in 
the darkened room, their eyes closed, He 
leads them, with a -corny recorded accom- 
paniment (violins, running water, chirping 
birdies, theme from Chariots ot Fire) that he 
cues, with occasioea r-palo.n; gestures and 
glances at his watch, while sitting in a pool 
of light. The lerg:hy sess oo's -ecurring re- 
irain is llial Ihe pa-iidpants should go back 
Fn 'their minds to a time when they were en- 
tirely loved and "comfortable, creative, con- ' 
fident. curious — like a child." 

By midnight 100 people will be ready to 
follow Robbins through fire; five or ten will 
not, Those who follow mus - . s : gn a waiver. 
They also tread on a sheet of soaking-wet 
artificial turf before reaching the coals. Of 
the 100 who try, a few may be burned, though 
not seriously, despite Robbins's insistence 
during the seminar that the coals could vir- 
tually melt your feet off or even kill you. Burns, 
it is understood, will occur only if the walker 
is not "in state." How the mind will protect 
the feet is obscure, but lobbies -alks abool 

Research suggests that blue glows, 
pulsing figures, and faces from the past 
will light our journey to the stars 



Claude was an unlikely selection for Ihe first 
contact mission. Short and fai, wearing an 
orange suil that bulged with biomedical 
equipment, he looked more like a whiskered pumpkin 
than a highly trained observer. But strapped into 
his rotating pod. he continually scanned the viewing 
port for a glimpse of the alien. Watching the strange 
creature and tapping his impressions onto computer 
keys. Claude nimbly encoded color and shape. 
He also watched a screen Hash pictures of Earth 
animals for comparison. Finally, he compared the 
living alien with the image of a tarantula, a beast he 
had never actually seen. 

After Claude had observed the alien for hours, the 
pod door opened, and the creature crawled inside. 
Claude's stubby fingers froze on the computer keys; 
he screamed and defecated as his suit automati- 
cally delivered a tranquilizer. 

This surreal scene took place not in the reaches of 
a distant galaxy but in a laboratory at the down-to- 
earth campus of the Universily of California at Los 
Angeles (UCLA). The pod and suit were designed 
by technicians Irom the space-biology program, 
the same program lhal prepared nonhuman primates 
for space before project Mercury. The pod was an 
earthbound capsule programmed to roll, pitch, 
and yaw while powerful gyros simulated gravitational 
forces. The alien was a living tarantula. And Claude 
was a lovable, 20-year-old rhesus monkey, born 
and raised in a laboratory that excluded all contact 
with other animals. "' 

The scientists controlling Claude's voyage were 

on a mission of their own: learning how future astro- 
nauls might perceive alien environments and the 
aliens Ihemselves. Their endeavor, part of the new 
field of exopsychology, will help us understand 
how astronauts might react to unusual land and life 
forms on worlds other than our own. Boldly going 
where no Homo sapiens had gone before, Captain 
Claude was both pilot and progenitor of our own 
journey to alien shores. 

That journey begins with the simple but formidable 
trait of curiosily. Like the cinematic apes in the 
beginning of 2001; A Space Odyssey, all primates, 
including man. share the basic drive to explore. 
But research with monkeys like Claude indicates that 
different individuals will perceive novel stimuli in 
different ways. Young monkeys will fearlessly reach 
out to contacl alien objects placed in their midst. 
Older monkeys, like Claude, with greater visual 
experience, are more cautious about Ihe unfamiliar. 
And for reasons unknown but deserving of note 
by NASAs women astronauts, females are freer and 
less overtly cautious in their forays than males are. 

Experiments with baboons, moreover, indicate that 
the ideal contacl mission would be a team of individ- 
uals including at least one female. In the experiments 
the primates were systematically exposed to an 
alien — a motorized mop that clicked, vibrated, and 
moved about their room. The baboons made more 
team investigations thai" nciviciual investigations; and 
females consistently made more contact than 
groups of males did. 
■ But regardless of the composition of the contact 


team, dealing with aliens will not be easy. 
And the most forbidding of all aliens is likely 
to be the looming one. Our reaction to loom- 
ing aliens, creatures provoking terror in 
monkeys and humans, is triggered when 
approaching objecls create a visual pattern 
characterized by a rapidly expanding con- 
tour. The alien "that oozed slowly out of a me- 
teor iii The Blob invited interest, but the 
creature lunging at the astronauts in Alien 
literally look their breath away. The tranquil- 
izer given to Claude might help astronauts 
to cope with such unexpected looming, but 
the stimulants carried by Gemini and Apollo 
astronauts will only increase fear. 

Despite the difficulties, primate studies 
suggest that teams of astronauts can train 
new members to deal with aliens in increas- ■ 
ingly effective ways. At Ihe Yerkes Regional 
Primate Research Center, in Atlanta-. 17 suc- 
cessive generations ol chimpanzees were 
ie;-'-i'. : ;(j i c.j .- 'heir ability to 'Take contacl with a 
simulated satellite, a battery-operated plas- 
tic ball thai moved in irregular patterns and 
beeped. The first generation consisted of a 
trio of the three oldest animals, labeled A, B, 
and C. In the second generation A was 
dropped, and a youngster, labeled D, was 
added. The third generation consisted of C, 
D, andf, and so on. Each trio lived together 
for several weeks before a satellite landed 
on the cage floor, 

The result? The first few trios avoided the 
satellite, and it wasn't until the fourth gener- 

ation that Fmadelenlal've contact. When F 
grasped the satell te several limes during the 
fifth generation, G followed hisexample. By 
the seventeenth generation, everyone was 
taking turns in playful scenes that would have 
del gnled E.T.'s everywhere. 

After a human contact team has been 
trained, Ihough, it will have to endure a long 
trek to the slars. And studies of modern-day 
astronauts have already chronicled an ex- 
tensive list of perceptual p'oolems imposed 
by the rigors of space. 

Perceplual difficulties, in fact, start during 
launch, when gravitational forces exert 
pressure on the blood vessels of the eye. 
The pressure produces phosphenes, spols 
of blue and gold light that could be inter- 
preted as external objects. As' acceleration 
increases, forces become so excessive that 
vision is dimmed or blacked out altogether. 
Once in orbit, astronauts have even re- 
ported flashes o- light streaking by them. 
Apolb 14 pilot Edgar Mitchell, for instance, 
reported one Hash the: anneared "blue with 
a white cast, like a blue diamond"; and Sky- 
lab 4 pilol William Pogue reported "tadpoles 
about three eighths of an inch long, at arm's 
length." The tabloids cum ihese visions are 
UFOs. But as it turns out, the flashes are 
caused by cosmic nuclei interacting with the 
human optical system. 

Even without the presence of cosmic par- 
ticles, the space environment can turn Ihe 
visual apparatus into a miniature theater, 

where the eye may project images with or 
without the presence of light. Neurons dis- 
charging in the retina and visual cortex can 
make space seem gray rather than pitch 
black. These same neurons may induce 
spots, disks, streaks of lightning, glowing 
blue arcs, and even checkerboard patterns. 
And blinking the eye's will not erase these 
patterns but only ilick them into rapid, right- 
angle turns, not unlike the movements attrib- 
uted to flying saucers. 

The Space erivrcnmeri also makes it more 
likely to detect images arising within the 
structures ol the eye. The astronaut may see 
small dancing spots of light caused by the 
shadows of red "floater" cells passing 
through retinal capillaries. He may see black 
lacework against a background of red, 
caused by blood vessels that cast shadows 
on photosensitive cells within the retina. 
Other images could include bright spots 
surrounded by a dark ring, caused by tear 
fluid or mucus on the cornea; a twinkling im- 
age, formed when light is diffracted by ra- 
dial fibers of the eye's lens; and pulsating 
figures, which result when blood vessels 
distend onto underlying receptor cells. 

On long missions in space, Ihese basic 
lights and images mark the first stage of the 
break with our ordinary concept of reality. 
Like roadside beacons, they warn the trav- 
eler that up ahead lies not only the imagery 
of 200Vs stargate corridor bul also the twi- 
lighl zone of hallucinations. 

FICTION After ten years you know 
a house's every 
sound. So what do you 
do when you 
hear something new, 
stirring above? 


Elara Peck had lived in the old 
house for some ten years 
before she made the strange 
discovery. Halfway upstairs 
to the second floor, on the landing, 
in the ceiling ... the trapdoor. 
"Well, my God!" 
She stopped dead, mid-stairs, 
to glare at the surprise, daring 
it to be true. 

"It can't be! How could I have 
been so blind? Good grief, (here's 
an attic in my house!" 

She had marched up and down- 
stairs a thousand times on a thou- 
sand days and had never seen. 

"Damned old fool.' 1 

And she almost tripped going 
down, having forgotten what she 
had come up for in the first place. 

Before lunch, she arrived to stand under 
the trapdoor again, like a tall, thin, nervous 
child with pale hair and cheeks, her too- 
bright eyes darting, fixing, staring. 

"Now I've discovered the damn thing, what 
do I do with it? Storage room up there. I bet. 

And she went away, vaguely troubled, 
feeling her mind slipping off, out of the sun. 

"To hell with that, Clara Peck!" she said, 
vacuuming the parlor. "You're still only fifty- 
seven. Not senile yet, by God!" 

But still, why hadn't she noticed'? 

It was the quality of silence, that was it. 
Herrool had never leaked, so no water had 
ever tapped the ceilings: iho nigh beams had 
never shifted in any wind, and there were no 
mice. If the rain had whispered, or the beams 
groaned, or the mice danced in her attic, 
she would have glanced up and iound the 

But the house had stayed silent, and she 
had stayed blind. 

"Bosh] " she cried, at supper. She finished 
the dishes, read until ten, went to bed early. 

It was during that night that she heard the 
first faint Morse-code tapping, the first graf- 
fiti scratching above, behind the blank ceil- 
ing's pale lunar face. 

Half asleep, her lips whispered. "Mouse?" 

And then it was dawn. 

Going downstairs to fix breakfast, she fixed 
the trapdoor with her steady, small-girl stare 
and fell her skinny fingers twitch to go fetch 
the stepladder. 

"Hell," she muttered. "Why bother to look 
at an empty attic? Next week, maybe." 

For about three days after that, the trap- 
door vanished. 

That is, she forgot to look at it. So it might 
as well not have been there. 

But around midnight on the third night, she 
heard the mouse sounds or the whatever- 
Ihey-were sounds drifting across her bed- 
room ceiling like milkweed ghosts touching 
the lost surfaces of the moon. 

From that odd thought she shifted to tum- 
bleweeds or dandelion seeds or just plain 
dust shaken from an attic sill. 

She thought of sleep, but the thought didn't 
take. Lying flat in her bed, she watched the 
ceiling so fixedly that she felt she could X- 
ray whatever it was that cavorted behind the 

A flea circus? A tribe of gypsy mice in ex- 
odus from a neighbor's house? Several had 
been shrouded recently to look like dark cir- 
cus tents so that pest killers could toss in 
killer bombs and run off to let the secret life 
in the places die. . 

The secret life had most probably packed 
iis fur luggage and lied. Clara Peck's board- 
ing-house attic, free meals, was their new 
home away from home. 

And yet . . . 

As she stared, the sounds began again. 
They shaped themselves in patterns across 
the wide ceiling's brow: long lingernails that.- 
scraping, wandered to this corner and that 
of the shut-away chamber above. 

Clara Peck held her breath. 

60 OMNI 

The patterns increased. The soft prowl- 
ings began to cluster toward an area above 
and beyond her bedroom door. It was as if 
the tiny creatures, whatever they were; were 
nuzzling another secret door, above, want- 
ing out. Slowly, Clara Peck sat up in her bed. 
and slowly she put her weight to the floor, 
not wanting it to creak. Slowly she cracked 
her bedroom door. She peered out into a 
hall flooded with cold light from a full moon, 
which poured through the landing window 
to show her — 

The trapdoor. 

Now, as if summoned by her warmth, the 
sounds of the liny, lost ghost feet above 
rushed to cluster and fret at the rim of the 
trapdoor itself. 

Christ! thought Clara Peck, They hear me. 
They want me to — 

The trapdoor shuddered gently with the 
tiny rocking weights of whatever it was arus- 
tle up there. 

And more and more of the invisible spider ■ 
feet or rodent feet or the blown curls of old 

^Around midnight, 

she heard the mouse sounds 

or the whatever- 

they-were sounds drifting 

across her ceiling 

like milkweed ghosts 

touching the lost 
surfaces of the moon3 

and yellowed newspapers touched and rus- 
tled the wooden frame. 

Louder and still louder. 

Clara started io yell: "Git!" 

When the phone rang. 

"Gah!" gasped Clara Peck. 

She felt a ton of blood plunge like a bro- 
ken weight down her frame'to crush her toes. 


She ran to .seize, lift, and strangle the 

"Who?" sheened. 

"Clara! It's Emma Crowley! What's wrong?" 

"My God!" shouted Clara. "You scared the 
hell out of me! Emma, why are you calling 
this late?" 

There was a long silence as the woman 
across town found her own breath. 

"It's silly, 1 couldn't sleep. I had a hunch — " 

"Ernma^ — " 

"No, let me finish. All of a sudden I thought, 
Sara's not well, or Clara's hurt, or — " 

Clara P.eck sank to the edge of the bed, 
the weighl ol Emma's voice pulling her down. 
Eyes shut, she nodded. 

"Clara," said Emma, a thousand miles off, 
"you — all right?" . , 

'All- right," said Clara, at last. 

"Not sick? House ain't on fire?" 

"No, no. No." 

"Thank God. Silly me. Forgive?" 


"Well, then . . . good night." 

And ^Emma Crowley hung up. 

Clara Peck sat looking at the receiver for 
a full minute, listening to Ihe signal, which 
said that someone had gone away, and then 
at last she placed the phone blindly back in 
its cradle. She went back out to look up at 
the trapdoor. 

It was quiet. Only a pattern of leaves, from 
the window, flickered and tossed on its 
wooden frame. 

Clara blinked at the ceiling. 

"Think you're smart, don't you?" There were 
no more prowls, dances, murmurs, or mouse 
pavanes for the rest of that night. 

The sounds returned, three nighls later, 
and they were larger. 

"Not mice," said Clara Peck. "Good-size 
rats. Eh?" 

In answer, the ceiling above executed an 
intricate cross-currenting ballet, without mu- 
sic. This toe dancing, ol a most peculiar sort, 
continued until the moon sank. 

Then, as soon as the light failed, the house 
grew silent, and only Clara Peck took up 
breathing and life, again. 

By the end of the week the patterns were 
more geometrical. The sounds echoed in 
every upstairs room: the sewing room, the 
old bedroom, and in the library, where some 
former occupant had once turned Ihe pages 
and gazed over a sea of chestnut trees. 

On the tenth night, all eyes and no face, 
with Ihe sounds coming in drumbeats and 
weird syncopations, at three in the morning, 
Clara Peck flung her sweaty hand at the 
telephone to dial Emma Crowley. 

"Clara! I knew you'd call!" 

"Emma, it's three a.m. Aren't you sur- 

"No. 1 been lying here thinking of you. I 
wanted to call, but felt a fool. Something is 
wrong, yes?" 

"Emma, answer me this. If a house has an 
empty attic for years, and all of a sudden 
has an attic full of things, how come?" 

"I didn't know you had an attic — " 

"Who did? Listen, what siarted as mice 
then sounded like rats and now sounds like 
cats running around up there. What'll I do?" 

"The telephone number of the Ratzaway 
Pest Team on Main Street is — wait. Here: 
Main seven seven seven nine nine. You sure 
sorncil ling's in your attic?" 

"The whole .damned high-school track 

"Who used to live in your house, Clara?" 


"I mean, it's been clean all this time, right, 
and now, well, infested. Anyone ever die 


"Sure, if someone died there, maybe you 
haven't got mice, at ail. " 

"You trying to tell me — ghosts?" 

"Don't you believe in—" 

"Ghosts or so-called friends who try 




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erupt and bum like ■ 
fevers,. tfils medication helps to subdue 


Resnick had almost everything — 

money, power, women. Now he's got something even 

better: the chance to live forever 


The man who was going to live 
forever looked happy. 
He came out of the hospital 
doors into the biting January 
cold — a burly, tanned figure in a Wert- 
meiler topcoat with the special cobalt 
mist, textured sleeves, and black fur 
mil. Walter James Resnick. a walking 

Ofl to the side, near the curb. Bren- 
nan studied the crowd. Their faces 
jumped into prominence as the big 
lights went on, welcoming Resnick's 
exit, pinning him in kilowatts of bold 
illumination. Resnick stopped, grin- 
ning — perfect teeth set against 
smooth skin. There was no sign of the 
treatments, no washed-oui look 
around the eyes, no thinning of the im- 
maculately combed black hair. He 
waved with the casualness of habit. 
looking at the mob without seeing it 

Resnick's advisers flanked him, 
basking in the spontaneous applause 
and shouts. The crowd was in a good 
mood. The media had made Res- 
nick's long battle with bone-marrow 
cancer the stuff of legend — a lonely 
struggle against apparently impossi- 
ble odds. 

How had that commentator put it last 
night? "The startling outcome _ capped 
one of the most uplifting news events 
ol recent memory." 

Sure, if your memory was maybe 
three weeks long. Mobs didn't have 

memories, though, and this one 
showed it. They called out to him, blew 
him kisses, clapped their gloved 
hands wildly, jumped up and down to 
get a better look. 

Resnick gave the two-fingered V 
sign. They applauded more. 

Some shoved and wriggled to get 
closer to the TV remote crew, mug- 
ging for the cameras. The interview 
was already in the can. shot inside, so 
the crew was just waiting, bored, for a 
tiller of Resnick leaving the hospital. 

Important people always had 
crowds wailing outside. You had to 
splice some of that into the footage: it 
was part of the business. Otherwise, 
how could you really be sure who was 
importanl? Brennan grinned humor- 
lessly. He had been a minor stringer 
for the city's second-largest paper the 
Herald, for thirty years. It had taught 
him a lot about the chasm between 
:he public and the private. 

Resnick made a little speech that 
the wind caught and tore away. The 
gusts brought light snow that llared 
irto ex sience under the glaring lights 
and then whirled away, darting under 
the tires of traffic, making slush. 

A big snowflake stuck on Resnick's 
cream shirt, next to the florid Demar- 
cus tie. The speech ended. It would 
be ironic if the immortal man caught 
pneumonia leaving the hospital. 

Resnick shook hands with the di- 


rector of the hospital and with the head sci- 
entist for the research projecl, getting 

through the little ceremony lor Ihe cameras 
as gracefully as possible. Then he ducked 
toward a black limousine. 

The crowd. cheered and surged toward 
him. It was always that way with big celebs, 
but this time Ihere was a frantic edge to the 

He's leaving, Brennan could imagine them 
thinking. Our brush with immortality, with' 
something bigger than we are. The healthy, 
well-muscled frame bowed and slipped 
through the limousine door, not looking back.. 
Don't go, not yet. 

Resnick went. The limousine pulled out. 
Faceless assistants had slipped into Ihe front 
seats. The darkened windows showed noth- 
ing. Brennan couldn't even tell where Res- 
nick was sitting. 

Brennan brushed by a man who was say- 
ing to a woman, "I'll be able to say I saw the 
first one, righl when he came out." 

The woman said, "Hey, did you see the 
way he looked? Like he'd just been to Flor- 
ida or somethin'." 

"Yeah, instead of lyin' around in a bottle 
for three months." 

"News said he didn't even know it. Thought 
he'd been asleep overnight or somethin'." 
They both laughed. 

Brennan was parked illegally halfway 
down the block. The sudden snow flurry had 
predictably jammed up traffic, so he kept 
pace wi!h the limo. He lucked his hands inlo 
the pockets of his cloth overcoat and stud- 
ied the building on his left. The driver never 
looked his way. 

There was a parking ticket under his 
windshield wiper. He crumpled it up and 
threw it into the gutter. 

Brennan slid behind the wheel of his 
anonymous blue sedan as the traffic light 
changed to green. 

He edged out into traffic and gunned the 
engine. The light turned yellow before he 
reached the corner. 

His stomach knotted. He tramped down, 
hunching over the wheel. 

The sedan had no pickup worth speaking 
of. It bucked once and accelerated slug- 
gishly into the intersection. 

Red light. A horn blared to his left, frighl- 
eningly close. Then he was through, and the 
lanes were clear in front. He kept his speed, 
peering ahead through the water-speckled 

He closed his eyes and felt nausea, fear. 
His stomach wouldn't unknot. Ruby taillighis 
coasted by ahead of him, but he could not 
tell which was the limo. 

One block. Two. 

Had they turned off? The papers said 
Resnick would go to ihe Hilton. Some movie 
and TV people were putting on a party for 
him, welcoming him back, like he'd been 
away on a long trip or something. Resnick 
hadn't made his money in the media, but he 
had friends in it. 

But if he was going to the Hilton he should 
be right ahead, on Park Drive. That would 
be the direct route, . 

72 OMNI 

Another block. Brennan was getting wor- 
ried. JHis stomach started tightening up 
again. Tension always brought that on. That, 
and the hot sensation lower down, like he 
had to take a crap all of a sudden. Only he 
never did, it just felt that way. Humiliating. He 
had gotten used to it, but it still made his 
lace burn. 

He came to a big, glowing department 
store. It was closed, but the lights were still 
on. An ivory glow poured onto the street 

A grocery truck slid into the left-turn lane, 
clearing his view, and he suddenly saw the 
limo. He sped up. The limo pulled into the 
slow lane. 

Brennan realized that he was going too 
fast to change lanes. He had to pass ihem, 
looking straight ahead. They turned right. 

Not going to the Hilton, not unless the 
chauffeur was a complete moron. So much 
for the papers. 

Then again, maybe Resnick wasn't in any 
particular hurry to get there. After all, Ihe man 

6/\ big snowflake 

stuck on Resnick's shirt 

right next to the 

. Demarcus tie. The speech 

stopped. It would 

be ironic if the immortal man 

got pneumonia 

leaving the hospital* 

now had all the time in the world. 

Brennan turned into the next driveway. It 
was a big sleel and glass bank, with a 
sprawling parking lot. He crossed the lot. At 
the far end there was a wooden barrier and 
a ticket-taking machine. 

He went through. Trio wood snapped off, 
and a hooter slar'oo blaring behind him. He 
turned right again into a side street. Down 
hall a block, tires hissing on the glossy black. 
The warm, musty smell of the sedan's heater 
seeped intofhe air. 

A red light here, coming up. He slowed, 
looked both ways. Nobody to the right. This 
one looked like a long light. As he went into 
the turn, he spotted ruby taillights a block 
away on Ihe left. Nobody else on the street. 
He went through the red light and swerved 
left, tires screeching. 

He hit the gas hard. The ruby lights ahead 
got closer, and then they turned ofi into a 
driveway. It was the limo. 

He stopped fifty yards Irom the driveway. 
The tightness .in his belly rode like a stone 
as he walked down the driveway and into a 
big turnaround for the entrance of an apart- 
ment building. 

There was a parking attendant driving a 

Mercedes away, and the limo was empty. 

Beyond it was a big well-lit toyer. Brennan 
could see Resnick leaving the foyer through 
some revolving doors. 

He followed, going past the attendant 
without a glance. It worked. Beyond the re- 
volving door was a sprawling inner garden, 
taking up half the ground floor. It gave the 
impression of passing through a stand of 
trees, with a gaily tinkling fountain halfway 
through. Brennan stopped just before the 
stone path reached large glass doors, be- 
cause through them he could see a guard 
in uniform. An elevator door was closing on 
Resnick's party. 
Damn. He might be in there tor days. 
There was probably some smart way to 
get past thai guard, but Brennan couldn't 
think of any. 

He walked over to Ihe elevator. "When's 
he coming down?" he asked the guard. 

"He doesn't tell me, bud." The eyes nar- 
rowed. "What you want?" 

"I'm Herb Brennan, a reporter for the Her- 
ald" People never knew what a stringer was, 
that he just sent in occasional pieces and 
didn't have steady newspaper work, so re- 
porter" went down better. 
"You got ID?" 

Brennan took out the little leather packet 
and unfolded to the Herald card. 

The man nodded. "No reporters inside, 
that's the word." 

" Brennan sighed realistically. "Yeah, print 
media are always the last." 

"Hell, Resnick wouldn't let CBS follow him 
around, even — that's what I heard. You got 
no reason to bitch." 

Brennan shrugged. "Yeah, maybe you're 
right. Can I wait here?" 

"No way, man." The guard sucked on his 
teeth. "Resnick's security people say no- 
body should be allowed to wait inside the 

"Why not? Are they afraid I'm going to 
breathe on him?" 

The guard laughed. "Guess so. They even 
had their men outside in those trees, earlier. 
Waiting for him." 
"Careful man." 
"You bet." 

"Okay it I wait outside?" 
■ He nodded. "I guess so. Stay off the path- 
way, though. Management don't like people 
blocking the way." 

He went out. It had gone pretty well. Once 
people knew who you were they looked right 
through you, and you could get your job 

He stepped back into the trees and 
watched the guard for a while. The man didn't 
look out into the garden often, just sat at a 
desk and watched a television. Brennan 
could see a fraction of the screen reflected 
in one of the doors. 

It took him several minutes to realize the 
guard wasn't watching a TV program. Itwas 
a security snooper, fed by cameras in the 
building. He glanced around nervously. 
There — two inconspicuous snouts hanging 
near the foyer. And another one nearer, just 

3 OM PACE 102 




Welcome to the world of 
the hypnotic 
trance, where anything 
is possible 



The woman closes her eyes 
and drifts into another world; 
a toeiing of peace comes 
over her. The hypnotist, 
fades away until he is just a quiet. 
soothing, disembodied voice. 

"In a few moments you are going 
to go back in time," psychologist 
Jean-Roch Laurence says gently. 
"You are getting smaller and 
smaller. When you reach age five, 
will you raise your index finger?" 


"Where are you right now?" 

"At school." 

"Write your name for me." 

He watches as she picks up a 
pencil and works intently at printing 
out her name, one letter at a time. 

Later the woman describes' 
what was going on in her mind 
during the trance: "I was two 
people, one standing off to the 
side looking at the other. One was 
standing, saying, 'You can write 
your name. Why are you taking so 
long?' Yet the one writing was 
struggling to form those letters." 

The hypnosis session had 
enabled her to relive some of her 
experiences and feelings as a 
child. II also made her aware of 
being another presence observing 
the scene, She was describing 
a unique experience, the sensation 
of duality, a phenomenon called 
the hidden observer, 


"This research is bringing us closer to 
seeing consciousness as truly multilevel," 
explains Laurence, of the University of Wa- 
terloo, near Toronto, where the experiment 
was conducted. "We may be observing an 
always aware and adaptive part of con- 
sciousness, one that is present all the time." 

Laurence's work is part of a new wave of 
interest in a centuries-old discovery, that al- 
tered state of consciousness known as hyp- 
nosis. With it, he and other scientists have 
been making some strange new discoveries 
about perception — how we remember the 
past and how we experience the present — 
and about an untapped healing power in the 
mind, a power that can influence even indi- 
vidual cells in the human body. 

Mucti of the work done by Laurence and 
others has consisted of duplicating and ex- 
panding upon the research done in the Sev- 
enties by psychologist Ernest Hilgard, now 
professor emeritus at Stanford University. 
Hilgard discovered the phenomenon of the 
hidden observer. 

It started when Hilgard was investigating 
the well-known ability of hypnotized people 
to suppress pain. As long ago as the 1830s. 
doctors used hypnosis as a painkiller in 
childbirth and in dental and medical sur- 
gery. But because of the elusive nature of 
hypnosis, it was hard to discern exactly how 
this worked. Unlike acupuncture, hypnotic 
pain relief does not seem to come from a 
release .of endorphins — the body's natural 
painkillers — -or any olher compound. 

Hilgard had already discovered that the 
mind can function on two levels simulta- 
neously. In a typical test, he was able to get 
a group of hypnotized subjects to rattle off 
the names of the colors on a chart, unaware 
that at the same time one of their hands, 
shielded from view, was holding a pencil and 
adding up a column of figures. 

"We had been doing some automatic writ- 
ing to demonstrate how the mind can have 
divided controls," he says. For his pain re- 
search, he devised automatic talking, a vari- 
ation of that technique. "It says things that 
conscious awareness knows nothing about," 
Hilgard explains. "It's a little bit like talking in 
your sleep." 

In one experiment, the hypnotized sub- 
jects were told thai one arm would be im- 
pervious to pain. Hilgard then applied a 
tourniquet and twisted it until it was tight. He 
left it on for eight minutes. During that time 
the discomfort should have increased, yet 
when the hypnotized subjects were ques- 
tioned, none reported any sensations of pain 
or discomfort. 

Then the hypnotist said, "When I place my 
hand on your shoulder, I will be able to talk 
to a hidden part of you that knows things that 
are going on in your body." The subjects im- 
mediately acknowledged the pain in their 
sore arms. "To the hidden observer it was a 
matter of fact," Hilgard recalls. "The pain was 
registered, but it. was not available to con- 
scious awareness." 

Hilgard suggests that the information 
about the pain is made inaccessible in much 
the same way stored knowledge can be 

78 OMNI 

made inaccessible to someone in hypnoti- 
cally induced amnesia. For example, a per- 
son under hypnosis can be told to forgel the 
name of his best friend. Although the knowl- 
edge is there, the conscious mind cannot 
retrieve it. Hilgard therefore suggests that 
there are two control systems in the body — 
thai there is a split consciousness at work. 

Now researchers al two- Canadian uni- 
versities, Montreal's Concordia and Water- 
loo, are taking some of Hilgard's findings one 
step further. Laurence and his colleagues 
have found that this two-level model of the 
mind applies to much more than pain relief. 
"This multilevel processing goes on in 
everyday life," Laurence says. 

In the course of investigating the value of 
hypnosis for police work, they found that the 
hidden-observer element can have surpris- 
ing effects on how accurately hypnotized 
subjects remember. 

Typically, a forensic hypnotist may try to 
get a witness to review a crime by regress- 
ing him to the day of the event. The hypnotist 

Q was two 

people, one standing off to the 

side looking 

, at the other. The one 

standing was 

. saying, 'You can write your 

name. Why 

are you taking so long?V 

may then tell I he subject to locus on a detail, 
to zoom in on a license plate, for example. If 
the witness did not see the license plate 
clearly, this reguest could become a pow- 
erful suggestion to hallucinate an answer. 

"The boundaries that gu : co us in every- 
day life do not hold in hypnosis," explains 
one of the investigators, Kenneth Bowers, 
professor of psychology al Waterloo. "When 
you age-regress people, some are able to ■ 
reestablish contact with extraordinary viv- 
idness. But there is no guarantee that it's true. 
You can get a Very convincing combination 
offantasy and reality." Hypnotized wit- 
nesses may perceive fantasy as fact. 

In a. neat demonstration of this, Laurence 
and fellow psychologisi Canibell Perry, of 
Concordia, recruited a group of 27 highly 
hypnotizabfe subjects. They asked each 
participant to pick one night on which thai 
person knew he had slept soundly. They later 
regressed each subject under hypnosis to 
that night. and asxeci the suggestive ques- 
tion, "Do you hear a loud noise?" Seventeen 
group members claimed they did. During the 
trance, many went on to fabricate elaborate 
stories about strange happenings in the 
night: After they came out of the trance, 13 

members of that group were convinced Ihey 
had been awakened by a noise that night. 

A week later Laurence challenged this re- 
call by showing participants videotapes of 
the hypnosis session. S:ill. s ; x of the subjects 
persisted. Said one, "I'm pretty damned 
certain — I'm posiliva.l heard these noises." 
Comments like this show how using hypno- 
sis to enhance a witness's memory can cre- 
ate fantasy as easily as it recalls factual 
memory. Later, during a pain test, the six 
people also showed the hidden observer at 
work in their minds. This presented a prob- 
lem to the psychologists. 

"If we were to stick withHraard's idea that 
the observer is the part of the self that mon- 
itors reality, then those who have it should 
be the ones to know the true source of the 
noise — and to reject that memory, " explains 
Laurence. Because the exact opposite was 
true, he now suggests that the hidden ob- 
server does not confront reality so much as 
interpret it. In the example of those who hal- 
lucinated sounds, Laurence says the sound 
seemed so vivid they weren't sure whether 
they had heard it or not. In the end they re- . 
solved the confusion by fixing it in their 
memories as real. 

Laurence thinks that what he's seeing 
during hypnosis — and this is the thrust of his 
experiments — is one way people adapt in 
fife, by reconstructing the past to conform 
with present perceptions. Memory is "not like 
a tape recording," suggests Laurence. "It's 
a combination of what occurred and how it 
fits into one's perceptions — more in line with 
one's self-concept and way of looking at life!"' 

This multilevel way of processing infor- 
mation has also turned up in research done 
by Bowers. Intuition, he says, is similarly 
complex. During the course of one three- 
year experiment, he presented a group of 
people (not hypnotized) with forced-choice 
tests. For example, they were shown two sets 
ot word triads and asked to select the triplet 
that was made up of relaled components — 
that is, which set was coherent. For exam- 
ple, a coherent triad would beraf, moon, and 
blue, because each word relates to cheese. 
If the test takers could not choose the coher- 
ent set by using logic, they were told to guess 
and to keep track of their guesses. Bowers 
wanted to find out whether intuition would 
guide them toward the correct answer, in this 
case, the coherent triad. 

"The answer is yes," says Bowers. In about 
60 percent of the guesses, his test takers 
gave the correct answer. 'At some level there 
is a preanalytic processing of information that 
allows one to sense where the coherence is 
before one realizes what it consists of." And 
that processing, he believes, is intuition. Rel- 
evant experiences bob up from memory and 
unconsciously influence the guesser's de- 
cision. "The implicit coherence then snaps 
into focus," he says. "This is often referred 
to as insight." 

Only by acknowledging what Bowers calls 
the multilevel quality of human perception 
can we begin to appreciate the subtle com- 
plexities of the mind, says Bower. In his work, 
as a psychologist he uses -"ore traditional 


A master of Japanese design 

uses wry, good-natured humor to drop viewers 

through a trapdoor of surprise 



Humor, claimed writer James Thur 
ber. who had reason to know, "is 
rious thing. I like to think of it as one of 
our greates! and earliest national re- 
sources, which must be preserved ai 
all costs." One of Japan's most 
live sculptors, Shigeo Fukuda, would 
understand and agree. Fukuda is Ja- 
pan's emperor of asobi, a concept thai 
combines both play and space. Asobi 
holds a place in Japanese life that is 
difficult to comprehend for anyone 
who has grown up in less densely 
packed environs. Japan crams hall the 
population of the United States into an 
area smaller than California. Three 
fourths of the country is so mountain- 
ous that few can live there. Half Ihe 
Japanese live within a lew hundred 
miles of Tokyo; more than 30 million 
reside in the metropolitan area alone. 
An apartment with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and 
bath is often smaller than most American rooms: -one third 
dl them are a scant 11 feet square. Relief from crowding is 
impossible, yet necessary, given Japan's population swells. 

That is where Fukuda's asobi comes in. Fukuda creates 
a kind of visual humor that Iranscends crowding by rede- 
fining space itself. At his house in Kamikitazawa, Fukuda's 
technique soon becomes clear. Whal appears to be the 
front door opens to a blank wall. The real door is in the 
seemingly blank wall at the left. A life-size portrait of Fu- 
kuda himself stands in front, Clearly he is a master of illu- 

sion, creating the life-giving sense of 
space where none is available. 

Many of Fukuda's works are simple 
whimsies that decorale his home— a 
triangular phonograph record, a three- 
bladed scissors, or the plaster heads 
of cabbage and lettuce, draped with 
a huge Iried egg. Other undertakings 
are more ambitious. 

In one of his creations, faces of 
Beethoven and Lincoln emerge from 
the tiled floor of a department store. In 
the photograph at left, Fukuda fits his 
profile into a sculpture based on the 
famed illusion of a vase that suddenly 
becomes two faces looking at each 
other when the viewer's attention shifts. 
In each, astonishment carries the 
viewer away from coniined surround- 
ings for a lew precious moments. 
Fukuda's best -known works, and 
probably his most ingenious, are sculptures that change 
from one object to another when roiated 90 c . Many capture 
two facets of a single event or object, like his image of early 
morning (left), a yellow sunrise united with a cup of coffee. 
It was two of these sculptures — Encore, a violinist who, 
when rotated, is transformed into a pianisl, and Esroh, a 
white horse that, when seen from the side, becomes a red 
one lying on its back — lhal brought Fukuda the first down 
payment on his growing recognition in the United States. 
Recent works have continued to view the world from two 
sides at once. Witness the self-portrait (next page, left), 


6He redefines 

space by twisting reality 


which is transformed into Fukuda's 
first initial, the letter S (above), when 
viewed from another angle. 

Occasionally, though, the two 
images are unrelated, as in the 
woman who metamorphoses into 
a fork (right), or an ange! who turns 
into the word sample. As always, 
Fukuda's goal is to drop his view- 
ers out of the environment and 
through the trapdoor of surprise. 

Japan long ago learned lo cram 
the greatest utility into the smallest 
possible niche. No wonder, then, 
that Fukuda has won great honor 
in recent years. As concrete and 
hard-edged technology spread 
through the Japanese islands, the 
need for escape presses ever 
harder Asobi becomes better ap- 
preciated each year, as does its 
good-humored emperor. DO 

9IW WQ* ^w 



"rearranging the molecules" of the feet. He 
also admits thai he bmsell has been burned 
on two occasions. One time, the hosl o! a 
talk show distractec Hobbirs during his walk; 
another time, coals became lodged be- 
tween hisloes. 

Firewalking's oromisc is significant: Con- 
quer Ihe coals and you can control all bodily 
pain. Norman Cousins, formerly the editor 
of the Saturday Review and now an acljuncl 
professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, 
has attended a Robbins seminar and is in- 
tensely interested in firewalking. The author 
of two books on Ihe subject of sell-healing. 
Cousins feels certain that the mind has the 
power to affect "physical" processes. Bui 
he's candid about not knowing what mech- 
anisms are involved, and his uncertainty ex- 
tends to firewalking. 

"If I would have crossed, I would have 
burned," Cousins says. "I, and people like 
me, live in the world of cause and effect." 
Not understanding what protects walkers 
from the fire.Cousins doubts he could have 
maintained the necessary menial state. But 
he has little doubt that the menial state— 
which he characterizes as "blazing deler- 
mination" — is real and has untapped cura- 
tive potential. "There's something here," he 
says, "that has to be taken seriously." 

Shuttling between faith and skepticism. 
Cousins asks-, "Why is the bed only eight 
feet? Why not twelve or sixteen feet? Why is 
it necessary to moisten the teel? Does it cor- 
relate to the short distance?" 

Robbins answered :hal lasl question when, 
on New Year's Eve of 1984. 150 people tra- 
versed a 35-foot bed of coals — a "Guinness 
Book of World Records firewalk," as Richard 
Greene proudly put it. 

Cousins is not alone in making a connec- 
tion between firewalking and healing. Rob- 
bins claims that remissions of cancer follow 
participation in his sessions. And Or, 0. Carl 
Simontom the Fort Worth cancer radiologist 
whose "imaging' therapy lor cancer has re- 
ceived wide publicity, look Robbins's semi- 
nar, walked the coals, and endorsed Ihe ac- 
tivity in front of TV news cameras. 

Simonlon says thai conventional thera- 
pies work only if combined with a confident 
and combative mental stance on the part of 
the patient. He attributes the failure of pa- 
tients to recover to an unconscious "will to 
die." His critics contend lhat his is a heart- 
less position, particularly in light of the in- 
evitable lethality of some cancers. 

Many members of the medical commu- 
nity readily accept that the mind does affect 
the body in certain ways. "I can believe that 
mental states afiect immune responses or 
even that a person could gain control of what 
we think of as local reflexes — ones that aren't 
mediated through the brain," says Dr. Sherif 
Khattab, a burn specialist with the Los An- 
geles County Hospital. "But that the mind 
could prevent intense heat from coagulating 
protein — that's harder to believe." 

84 OMNI 

Implicit in the idea thai mine; and will con- 
trol the world is the corollary that failure is 
due not to overwhelming circumstances bul 
to weakness of spirit-or to an unconscious 

■ desire to fail. It's one of the liabilities of fire- 
walking: Those who emerge unscathed 
congratulate themselves, those who get 
burned often feel crushed. Fire becomes, 
as in the Book of Daniel, the test ot right- 
eousness. Predictably, several ol those who 
have blistered — and thus tailed the test — 
have sought psychiatric counseling. More 
interesting, pert aps. aro those who pass the 
trial and then believe that all their problems 
will be easily solved, Says Phil Berctta, a San 

' Pedro. California, psychotherapist who has 
treated a dozen firewalkers for depression, 
"They come away irom this with unreasOn- 
abe expectations " 
Why shouldn't all other hurdles seem 

■ easy 9 Haven't the "faithlul" achieved the im- 
possible? Not really. Several scient-le ox 
planations are being advanced as to why 
■hose peoo ! e can waK en hot coals.- 

6/f's one of 

the liabilities of firewalking: 

Those who 

emerge unscathed congratulate 

themselves; those 

who get burned fee! crushed. 

Fire becomes 

the test of righteousness.^ 

Jearl Walker, professor of physics at 
Cleveland State University and longtime au- 
thor of Scientific American's Amateur Sci- 
entist column, used to walk on a bed of coals 
lor nis | ;hysics classes. He slopped doing it 
after getting burned once. But he still 
plunges his bare hand into a pot of molten 
lead after wetting his skin with water. Both 
acts are meant to demonsi'a-.e tne l.e den 
frost effect, whereby a liquid exposed to in- 
tense heat will instantaneously form an in- 
sulating, boundar y layer of si earn This is what 
protects a drop of water on a hot skillet from. 
immediate vaporization: If skates on a filnri 
ol steam. In Walker's view, vaporized per- 
spiration insulates the fool in Ihe same way 
that a little saliva allows you to snuff a candle 
flame with your fingertips. 

UCLA plasma physicist Bernard Leikind 
is skeptical o' 'he importance of the Leiden- 
frost effect in firewalking; he views the coals 
themselves as the principal factor. He thinks 
they are neither su'licient'y dense and mas- 
sive nor si.il icionilyqcou conductors of heat 
to burn the foot during briel contact . 

Laymen, Leikind argues, usually don't 
distinguish between temperature and heat. 
The motion of molecules is heat. Tempera- 

lure is something e'-se it s ar.aogous to "full- 
ness." A small container can be filled by an 
amount of waler that would barely wet a large 
one. Similarly, an object having little mass 
can be raised to a high temperature by an 
amount of heat energy that would barely 
warm something more massive. 

Two other factors also' come into play. 
Some materials recu.re less neat energy per 
unit of weight to raise their temperature a 
given amount than others; and heat energy 
moves more <ao : dly through some materials 
than through others, 

Leikind cites the act ol removing a cake 
Irom an oven as an example. You open the 
oven and thrusl in your hand, The air in the 
oven is at the same temperature as the pan, 
but i: does no; burn you because it has very 
little mass, and therefore contains very little 
heat energy. The pan, of course, has a large 
amount of heat energy. If you touch it without 
a potholder, which is a poor conductor of 
heal, you get burned. 

Though the temperature of incandescent 
coals is at least 1200°F they contain very lit- 
tle heat energy because they are not mas- 
sive: They are a fluffy, spongy material,. as 
light as balsa. But the foot is massive, and 
Leikind suggests that its physical properties 
are roughly analogous ic Those of water, 

When the foot settles upon the coals, he 
thinks, the surface layer of the coals loses 
its heat to the foot but heats the foot very 
little. This is because the foot is much more 
massive than the topmost layer of the coals. 
Heat energy begins lo flow upward from the 
hot lower portion ol the coal. But because 
carbon is a poor conductor, the heat moves 
slowly, and the foot is gone before signifi- 
cant transfer has occurred. 

Why, then, do some people get burned, 
even seriously burned? 

"It's not a controlled experiment," Leikind 
says. "People-have different feet, different 
ways of walking and tnoy ;ake different paths 
over the coals. It's not thai you cannot get 
burned; it's just that it is not nearly as likely 
as it looks." 

Leikind suspects that a sociological factor 
plays a role in the low incidence of reported 
bums After ai . admitting to being burned 
during a Robbins happening is admitting to 
failure. Burn specialists add another argu- 
ment. The sole of the foot, they say, resists 
burning because of its thick, cornified skin. 
And that same roughened sk.n makes it par- 
ticularly difficult for the layman to recognize 
superficial burns. 

Leikind attended a Robbins seminar with 
a friend. UCLA research psychologist Bill 
McCarthy. They agreed to conduct an im- 
promptu experiment; Leikind would remain 
outside to avoid the suggestions ol the sem- 
inar; McCarthy would take the seminar, Af- 
terward both walked, Leikind twice, the sec- 
ond time over a freshly laid bed of coats. 
■ Psychologist McCarthy noted that the 
Robbins firewalking :echniauo -turn your 
eyes upward, clench your fist, breathe heav- 
ily, chant "Cool moss," and celebrate when 
you reach the end — involves a number of 
well-known stratagems for blocking pain. 

These include repealing a ma'i:ralike phrase, 
looking away from the source Of pain, and 
focusing attention on an internal cue, in this 
case a Lamaze- ike breath irrj style. He thinks 
the hour of Ihe day plays a part, loo: Fire- 
walks usually occur after midnight, at a low 
point in the cjrcadian cycle, when sensory 
activity is generally dull. McCarthy did get 
burned slightly, but he felt no pain, nor even 
heat, at the time. 

Leikind fared better. "Once the coals had 
been spread out, they cooled rapidly," he 
says. "Incandescence is a simple gauge of 
temperature. I saw dark footprints where 
• people's feet had been. Robbins's people 
claim to be blocking the heat somehow, but 
lo me that meant that much of the heat in the 
coals was being absorbed by the feet. But 
people apparency we'en't getting burned, 
so I knew there just couldn't be that much 
heat energy present." 

In defiance of Robbins's prescription, Lei- 
kind looked down, breathed normally, and 
thought aboul ihe coals. (Jearl Walker, in his 
physics classes, took no mental precau- 
tions, either.) 

Robbins took Leikind's periormance in 
stride. It simply shows, he says, that Leikind 
has a "belief system" — physics — in which he 
has total faith. He dicn't ge- ourned because 
he sincerely believed he wouldn't. Actually. 
Robbins says, Leikind was "definitely in state" 
during his walks. 

Leikind's walks were not a controlled ex- 
periment, and his success ■.'■.■as r-y. a : : ,-\er- 
tific proof; it merely put his hypothesis on an 
equal footing with the rnind-over- matter the- 
ory. But it is a p-cfcaolc hypcrnesis, he says, 
because science does not seek farfetched 
reasons forthings that can be accounted for 
by simple ones. Robbins is no scientist, nor 
are most of his supporters; the principles of 
scientists do not concern them. 

Norman Cousins would like his scientist 
colleagues at UCLA to investigate firewalk- 
ing ("How far," he asks, "can blazing deter- 
mination carry us?"). But he's' made little 
headway, li seems unlikely thai extensive 
experiments will be carried out. The pro- 
moters of firewalking have nothing to gain by 
them, and most scientists, once presentee 
with a satisfy ng nypo:hes:s. will probab'y 
consider the issue beneath Iheir attention 
and perhaps even hazardous to their 
professional prestige. 

The fire is out. The parking lot is nearly 

empty again. A barefoot man douses Ihe 
beds of coals with water, the TV crews col- 
lect their equipment. 

A maintenance man, crabbed and el- 
derly, shakes his heac o isa op roving ly over 
what he has seen. "They ought to keep an 
eye on that guy," he mutters. 

The fire ma.'shs- is get:irc; ready to leave 
He, too, seems disturbed. "I've been trained 
for years io keep people fro"i doing what all 
these people jls: did. v ol shouldn't play with 
fire. Fire arrd 'people don't mix." 

And then he adds, as he buttons his uni- 
form jacket against the night air;' "But the 
power of the mind is a beautiful thing. "DO 

In the next thirty years, our 

homes, jobs, schools, and very bodies 

will be transformed, but the 

human character will remain unchanged, 

says this shrewd forecaster who 

knows how to ask the right questions 


UJJJ e it during a television interview, a radio talk show, or the 
|^^^ typically tree-form speeches he gives to international 
wmmmJ corporate bigwigs, Marvin Cetron always gets asked the 
same questions: "What makes you a better long-range forecaster 
than anybody else? Why are you more accurate at predicting the 
future than those who call themselves futurists?" 

"I'm not a futurist," Cetron always replies, "because futurists claim 
we'll colonize space in fifty years, even though it's both unneces- 
sary and too costly to do it. Futurists prophesy [hat solar power 
will energize the world in the twenty-first century, despite the fact 
that solar energy costs twice what oil costs today. Futurists fore- 
cast what they hope will happen, because these fantasy scenarios 
are nice, neat, and clean; the fantasies don't penalize anybody too 
much and don't hurt the environment, I deal with facis— with trends 
and computers. That's how I make my forecasts." 

As founder and president of the Arlington. Virginia, firm ol Fore- 
casting International, Cetron conducts computer analyses of the 
trends and indicalors that suggest the outcome of series of events. 
He forecast, for instance, the collapse of the government of the 
Shah of Iran, the unrest and instability in Poland, the political up- 
heavals in India, and the militarist stance of Iraq, Long before they 
became realities, Cetron predicted no-fault divorce, the graying of 
America, new living arrangements between the sexes, and the rise 
ol conservatism in this country. 

In his book Encounters with the Future, published in 1982, Ce- 
tron predicled Reagan's landslide reelection in 1984 at the same 
lime that he foresaw the East-West German rapprochement. He 
forecast declines in union memberships in the United States and 
ihe parallel rise of industry in states thai have "right-to-work" laws. 
Cetron predicted the emergence of the robot on the assembly line, 


and Ihe creation oi :hr; oneckiess and cash- 
less socieiy. Because o'd people are living 
longer and more pc-oo e ol all ages are get- 
ling divorced, he prophesied the advent of 
the extended American family. 

In his booh, Celron envisioned the run- 
away .success ot the pci sorai computer r 
homes and businesses and its growing ac- 
ceptance in the country's school systems. 
He also realized, as did few others, lhal 
computers would p'ermii many people to 
work at home. Meanwhile, more (rouble in 
the Middle East arc using unres". in South 
Africa make headlines just as Marvin Celron 
once said they would. Already having writ- 
ten Jobs oi the Future, Celron is now work- 
ing on two other future looking books, ten 
■ tatively titled Schools ol the Future and 
Women in the Twenly-Fir-1 Century. 

Cetron's current forecasts are made to- 
day the same way he's always done them, 
"The bulk of our data is fed into computers, 
and the probability of an event taking place 
in the next five, ten. or twenty years is deter- 
mined. ' he explains "We look at ihe impact 
these events make in five, ten. or twenty 
years." He then looks at 200 trends as they 
change and plots their points — up, down, or 
"wiggling" — on a graph lb extrapolate about ■ 
a trend and correlate it to other trends, he 
uses substitution models and growth anal- 
ogies. For instance, in a trend to replace 
metal in cars with plastic, he asks: What kinds 
of plastic will be substituted with what 
changes in cost, strength, function, weight, 
and other factors? For a growth analogy he 
examines other substitutions ana how well 
they've done; synthetic ruooer to- real .\.ib- 
ber; artificial sweeter -tvs for '■:•>. k.:.';i' ~hei ■ '■>.- 
tron asks: "What has happened to these 
■substitutions in the long run. ano why 9 " 

"We use sixty-four indicates for stao ity 
iaclors. he continues. 'You've go: :o know 
whattomea in;-;- mosi 

important." Some of Cetron's indicators are 
Ihe sedrel ingred onts oi his torccasting rec- 
ipe. But- there are two vitat ones he'll talk 
about: The first is unemployment among 
young unmarriec men between the ages' of 
eighteen and thirty — the restless years. 
These are Ihe men who will start a revolu- 
tion. The second vital indicator is a compar- 
ison of the top and bottom ten percent in 
income in a given country. What's (he differ- 
ence between the Iwo? In Scandinavia, the 
difference is only two and a half times, In the 
rest of Europe the upper ten oerceni — akes 
six to eight times mere money than Ihe lower 
ten percent. In Ihe United Slates, it's ten to 
eleven times more for the upper tenth. "The 
reason we were able to predict the crisis in 
Iran," he says, '"is that the income disparity 
got out of hand. The lop tenth was making 
about thirty : eighl times more money lhan the 
bottom tenlh." 

Now that the dreaded 1984 has passed, 
it seems appropriate to ask Cetron to make 
some new forecasts of the changes that may 
transform thffUnited States — and the world. 
Cetron v ishmgton Post 

correspondent Thomas O'Toole, who coau- 
thored Encounters With the Future, O'Toole 

88 OMNI 

conducted the interview in Cetron's Arling- 
ton office, across the Potomac Rivci iron 1 
Washington and within ha ling distance of the 
Pentagon, whers Ceiror got Ins start r fore- 
casting more than 30 years ago. 

Omni: Before any eoi lgraiuiaiions are made 
on how well the ; orecas;s n Encounters With 
the Future turned out, let's see what wasn't 
forecast ano why. Whal d-d you mi's? 
Cetron: We missec the war in the Falklands 
by a mile. Not only didn't I recognize that 
Argentina would invade Ore islands, I also 
never guessed that Prime Minister Margaret 
Thatcher would engage in a war that would 
cost one hundred iilty thousand dollars for 
every man, woman, and child living under 
the British Hag in the Fakancs. Only ahe"- 
ward on 'oalizo loal Ihe Bi il is- 1 were really 
liglilinc lo' G'itrallai. tor I lory Kong. Im the 
I" renel"' r New Caledonia. I he British went 
tcw-ai loi rst -or the Falklands but for all the 
protectorates around the world. 
'•Mr. also missed on Ihe house and Senate 

'•Sheikh Yamani 

got good grades at Harvard 

Business School. 

He knows every time the 

• ' Saudis fat! behind 

in their loan payments, they 'II 

pump more oil 

to get their money back 3 

.ons by a little. We thought, and rightl 
lat President Reagan would again b< 
slid back into the 'White House, but v* 

food, drugs, ano agriculture. Although they 
see Reagan as someone who wants what 
they want, they also eesire an opposition that 
won't necessarTy go along ■■.■villi Ihe voice In- 
Ihe While House Thai's lhok prolcchon 
and the reason why Republicans didn't 
shirttail their way into Congress wi:h Rea- 

Omni: Lei's tat'. .iho-..i! 'ho liruro ol energy. 
Energy was a big deal a low years ago: the 
Arab oil embargo, easoino iros. hign prices, 
smaler cars, -as concern lessened? 
Cetron: Saudi Arabia controls Ihe price of 
o- .1 :ho -wore conserves energy, the Sau- 
dis can produce enough oil to take care of 
everyone — and that's wha 1 . s been happen- 
ing since 1975. Saudi Arabia has over nine 
billion dollars invested n Ihe United Stales. 
They're in the middle of developing a whole 

new industrial economy, but they have to 
keep paying for it. They've got long-term in- 
dustrial loans out to 2004. They fell behind 
in 1983 by 1.2 billion dollars, by Ghhstmas 

1984 they were echthundrec seventy-three 
million dollars behind. Sheikh Yamani got 
good grades at Harvard Business School. 
He knows that every time they fall behind, 
they pump more oil to make sure they get 
their money back. The more they pump, the 
more they create a glut, and the price keeps 
dropping. Yet, they have to keep pumping 
more to pay their bills. No ihe price of oil will 
not skyrocket at any time in the next fifteen 
years. II anything, it will come down. 
Omni: You deal wilh computers every day. 
What does the future hold for computers? 
Cetron: The personal-computer business is 
growing so fast that I think there will soon be 
more computers than television sets in 
American households. The crossover point 
will probably take place around 2010. but it 
all depends on how guickly you get them 
into schools. We spent one billion dollars on 
all textbooks during the past two hundred 
years. We are going to soend one billion do - 
lars before 1990 or computer-assisted ed- 
ucation. But only one third of all computers 
used by kids will be bought by schools. The 
rest will be boughl by :hc kds' parents, 
Omni: What about the trend for people 
working at home with their computers? 
Cetron: More and more people will work at 
home using computers than will commute to 
a job. By 2000. twenty-two percent of the 
population will work at home, and twenty- 
five years later this will be the case for more 
lhan half Ihe country. There are, however, 
service jobs that can't oo done at home. Also, 
we'll still have to see people face to face in 
order to share ideas. I can see people work- 
ing alternate days — sharing the same desks 
but having their own personal filing cabi- ' 
nets. As people start -working —ore at home, 
telemarketing will come in, You can use tele- 
vision, interactive cable, even a telephone 
with a WATS line lo call out and an eight hun- 
dred number to get incoming calls. The av- 
erage sales call wi I eesi between twelve and 
seventeen dollars instead of the two hun- 
dred dollars it costs now. There should be 
as many as eiyh: million people in telemar- 
keting in the next century We're talking ma- 
jor jobs here. But when the husband and wife 
are both regularly working al home with 
computers, that's I ne I'mele look tor another 
big increase in trie divorce rate, maybe even 
a quadrupling of the present rate. You can't 
be on top ot each other all Ihe lime: you need 
a special place to go. 

Omni: What do you flunk wi I become of the 
forty- hour workweek? 
Cetron: People will still work' staggeringly 
long hours in New York and Washington to 
succeed. They will still take two and three 
jobs when the thirty-two -hour workweek be- 
comes standard You're gong to have Ihese 
type A personalities all the lime. I think we'll 
go to a twenty-hour workweek by the year 
2000: so some people will have three jobs. 
I myself am a type A person. I'm doing three 
jobs right now: I'm publishing books, run- 


1 " A 



jng what 

— l it has all these little empty 






l ' "U r B i W 

of the ei 

interesting. Truth to telt, once the 

ie dude was on the right- 


squealed at the tap of ..., . 

Dwed. and the big 
. that gut-deep di- 
Ich of shuddered- 

! you heading?' 
He laughed and sf 

irW' ■■■"'I!! 

4fc . . „_ 

wondering if the engine was as bad as it 
sounded. When we were up to speed — 
eighty, eighty-five, no smokies on this road — 
he asked, "How long you been hauling?" 
"Two years." 
"Good pay?" 
"It'll do," - 

"We're union like everybody else." 
"1 heard about that." he said. "In that little 
dump about two miles back." 

"People live there?" I asked. I didn't think 
anything lived along the road, 

"Yeah: Real down folks. They said team- 
sters bosses get carried in limousines when 
they go." 
"Don't really matter how you get there, I 
■ suppose. The trip's short, and the time after 
is long." 

"Getting there's all the Fun?" he asked, 
trying for a grin. I gave him a shallow one. 

"What're you doing out here?" I asked a 
few minutes later. "You aren't dead, are you?" 
I'd never heard of dead foik running loose or 
looking quite as vital as he did, but I couldn't 
imagine anyone else being on the road. Just 
dead folks and drivers. 

"No," he said. He was quiet for a bit. Then 
slow, as if it embarrassed him, "I came to 
find my woman." 

"Yeah?" Not much surprised me, but that 
was a new twist. "There ain't no returning, 
you know." 

"Sherill'sherna'-c, soei.ed like sheriff but 
with two/'s." 

"Got a cigarette?" I asked. 1 didn't smoke, 
but I could use it later. He handed me the 
last three in a crush-proof pack and didn't 
say anything. 

"Haven't heard of her," I said. "But then, I 

don't get to converse with everybody I haul. 

And there are lots of trucks, lots of drivers." 

"I know," he said. "But I heard about them 


He had a crazy kind of sad look in his eye 
when he glanced at me, and that made me 
angry. I tightened my jaw and stared straighl 

"You know," he said, "I heard some crazy 
stories. About how they use old trains for 
China and India, and in Russia there's a 
tramline. In Mexico it's old buses along roads, 
always at night — " 

"Listen. I don't use all the benefits," I said. 
"I know some do, but I don't." 

"Sure, got you," he said, nodding that ex- 
aggerated goddamn young folks' nod, his 
whole neck and shoulders moving along, it's 
all right, everything's cool. 
"How you gonna lind her?" 
"I don't know. Do the road, maybe ask the 
"How'd you getin 7 " 

He didn't answer for a moment. "I'm going 
to be here when I die. It's not so hard for folks 
like me to get in before. And ... my daddy 
was a driver. He told me the route. By the 
way, my name's Bill." 
"Mine's John/' I said. 
"Glad to meet you." 

We didn't say much to each other after 
that for a while. He stared out the right win- 
gs OMNI 

dow, and I watched the ocser: and faraway 
shacks go by. 

Soon the mountains came looming up — 
space seems compressed on the road, es- 
pecially once past the desert — and I sped 
up for the approach. There was some noise 
from the back. 

"What do you do when you get off work?" 
Bill asked. 

"Go home and sleep." 

"Nobody knows you're on the run?" 

'Llust the union." 

"That's the way it was with Daddy, until just 
before the end. Look, I didn't mean to make 
you mad or nothing. I'd just heard about the 
perks, and I thought — " he swallowed, his 
Adam's apple bobbing. "Thought you might 
be able to help. I don't know how I'll ever find 
Sherill. Maybe back in the Annex. . . ." 

"Nobody in their right mind goes into the 
yards by choice," 1 said. "And you'd have to 
look through, everybody that's died in the last 
four months. They're way backed up." 

Bill took that like a blow across the face, 

'•As I geared the 

truck down for the decline, 

the noise in 

the trailers got irritating. 

They could smell 

what was coming, I guess, 

like pigs stepping 

up to the man with the knifed 

and 1 was sorry I'd said it. "She's only been 
gone a week," he said. "She don't belong 

I couldn't help bulgrin. 

"No, I mean, I belong here but not her. She 
was in this car wreck a couple of months 
back, got prelly badly messoc up. I'd dealed 
her dope at first and then fell in love with her, 
and by the time she landed in the hospilal 
she was, you know, hooked on about four 
different things." 

My arms stiffened on the wheel. 

"I tried to tell her when I visited that it 
wouldn't be good for her to get anything, no 
more dope, but she begged me. What could 
I do? I loved her." 

He wasn't looking out the window now. He 
was looking down at his worn boots and 
hodding. "She begged me, man. So I 
brought her stuff. 1 mean, she took it all when 
they weren't looking. She just took it all. They 
pumped her out, but her insides were just 
gone. I didn't hear about her being dead un- 
til two days ago, and that really burned me. 
I was the only one who loved her, and they 
didn't even tell me. I had to go up to her room 
and find her bed empty. Jesus. I hung out at 
Daddy's union hall. Someone talked to 

someone else, and I found her name on a 
list. The Low Road." 

"I don't use any of those perks," 1 said, just 
to make it clear I couldn't help him. "Folks in 
back got enough trouble without me, I think 
the union went too far there." 

"Bet they felt you'd get lonely, need com- 
pany," Bill said quieliy. looking at me. "It don't 
hurt the folks back there. Maybe give them 
another chance to, you know, think things 
over. Give 'em relief for a couple of hours, a 
break from the mash — " 

"Listen, a couple of hours don't mean 
nothing in relation to eternity. I'm not so sure 
I won't be joining ihem someday, and if that's 
the way it is I want it smooth, nobody pulling 
me out of a trailer and putting me back in." 
"Yeah," he said. "Got you, man. I know 
where that's at. But she might be back there 
right now, and all you'd have to — " 

"Bad enough I'm driving this rig in the first 
place." 1 wanted to change the subject. 
"Yeah. How'd that happen?" 
"Couple of accidents, my premiums went 
up to where I couldn't afford payments and 
premiums, and finally they took my truck." 
"You coulda gone without insurance." 
"Not me," I said. "Anyway, some bad word 
got out. No companies would hire me. I went 
to the union to see if they could help. Told 
me I was a dead-ender, either get out of 
trucking or-—" I shrugged— "this. I couldn't 
leave trucking, it's bad out there, getting 
work. Lot of unemployed. Couldn't see my- 
self pushing a hack in some big city." 
. "No, man," Bill said, giving me that whole- 
body nod of his again. He cackled sympa- 

"They gave me an advance, enough for a 
down payment on my rig." The truck was 
grinding a bit but maintaining. Over the 
mountains, through a really impressive pass 
like from an old engraving, and down in a 
very rugged rocky valley, was the City. 

"I don't think I'd better go on, "Bill said. "I'll 
hitch with some other rig, ask around." 

"Well, I'd feel belter if you rode with me 
back out of here. Want my advice?" Bad 
habit. "Go home." 

"No," Bill said. "Thanks anyway. Not with- 
out Sherill." He took adeep breath. "I'll try to 
work up a trade. 1 stay, she goes to the High 
Road. That's the way the game runs down 
here, isn't it?" 

At the top of the pass I pulled the rig over 
and let him out. He waved at me, I waved 
back, and we went our separate ways. 

The City looks a lot like a county full of big, 
white cathedrals. Casting against type. High 
wall around the perimeter, stretching as far 
as my eye can see. No horizon but a vanish- 
ing point, the wall looking like an endless 
highway turned on its side. As I geared the 
truck down for the decline, the noise in the 
trailers got irritating again. They could smell 
what was coming, I guess, like pigs step- 
ping up to the man with the knife. 

I pulled in to the disembarkation terminal 

and backed the first trailer up to the holding 

pen. Employees let down the gates and used 

some weird kind of prod to herd them. 

These people were past mortal pain, and 

i>lf the picture 

doesn't show people, a house, or 

a dog, Fotomat 

says there's nothing there.* 

UFOs. says Ellen Crys- 
tal!, seem to like her 
And after dozens of 
close encounters over 
a period of 14 years, 
she's gotten to like 
ihern, too 

Crystatl says she 
saw her first UFO In 
1971 , while still a teen- 
ager, after her family 
had mowed to Califor- 
nia. "Our neighbors 
talked about UFOs," 
she recalls, "and after 
a while I saw them, 
too. Soon they started 
coming closer And 
within a few months, I 
was so terrified that I 
convinced my par 
ents to move back to 
New Jersey." 

When Crystall got 
back East, though, 
she continued to see 
the UFOs. And ne- 
cessity forced her to assimilate the strange shapes into 
everyday life. By 1981, in tact, she was searching for alien 
visitors in rural Pine Bush, New York. 

Conducting tier Investigation with utologist Harty Lebel- 
son. Crystall spent evening after evening in the field. "We 
were going to Pine Bush nightly to photograph spaceships 
landing in farmers' fields," she claims "In one greatly en- 
larged picture, I could even make out a group of live aliens 
that looked like something out of the Star Wars bar scene." 

The lights vanished Irom Pine Bush m November 1981, 
but Crystall often went back to see whether they had re- 
turned Last August, she says, she found them. Since Ihen, 
"I've taken a lot of people up there, and they've seen the 
UFOs. too," she reports. "We go running through ihe fields 
in the dark, and we've gotten close several times The UFOs 
seem to hold their breath until you start to leave Then lights 
come on ten feet away and shoot straight up." 

According to Crystall, she's had trouble substantiating the 


Pine Bush sightings 
because good pho- 
tographs are hard to 
come by 'The aliens 
seem to control who 
can take pictures of 
them," Crystall ob- 
serves. "One person 
will get pictures, and 
another will get noth- 
ing. Usually, I get 
pretty good pictures 
thai look like showers 
ol sparks. I have to 
have them developed 
by a custom lab, 
though. II the picture 
doesn't show people, 
a house, or a dog, Fo- 
tomat says there's 
nothing there." 

Better equipment 
might help, she b& 
lieves. "We'ie seeing 
electrical discharges 
of some son and they 
give oft short-wave- 
length light that's blocked by Ihe glass of an ordin 3 
With a quartz lens, I might gel the spacecraft itself Gut a 
quartz lens costs $1,500— beyond the budget ol 
school musician working her way through New Yoi f 
sity as a fill-in secretary. 

Despite such handicaps. Crystall believes she has 
gleaned a few original insights into the nature of UFOs. "The 
metal on these craft seems to be transparent," she says 
'They also seem to be able to generate their own cloud 
formations. One night, we saw vertical streaks forming, with 
moving lights in them. At the same time, a group about a 
mile closer heard a loud mechanical screeching. When you 
photograph Ihern, you don't get what you see. The lights 
don't show up in the pictures " 

The reason for that, notes UFO skeptic Robert Sheaffer, 
seems clear "What Crystall calls UFOs others might refer to 
as dimly lit planes or stars," he says. "The contusion is more 
common than you might think."— OWEN DAVIES 

Popular belief holds that 
people can occasionally 
burn up without apparent 
cause, doing little damage to 
the surrounding environment. 
But now a new study indi- 
cates that the phenomenon, 
known as spontaneous 
human combustion, is mere 
myth. According to former 
detective Joe Nickel! and fo- 
rensic analyst John Fischer. 
their two-year study links 
acceptance ot the so -called 
mystery to ignorance and 
poor reporting 

As part of their proieci, 
Nickel! and Fischer investi- 
gated a classic case, the 
1951 burning death of a sixty- 
seven -year-old Florida 
woman named Mary Reese. 
dubbed the cinder woman 
by newspaper reporters. The 
standard accounts, they 
found, were "long on mystery 
but shod on facts." 

The truth, Nickeliand 
Fischer assert, is thai Reese 
took sleeping pills and dozed 
ofl with cigarette in hand. 
The cigarette ignited the 
overstuffed chair on which 
she was sitting, and her 
flammable mghtclothes 
96 OMNI 

caught fire. Her considerable 
ihe was 60 pounds 
oyer weight— further led the 
Names. And i ■ 
sensational versions 
event, the researchers con- 
tend, "ob|ects in range or 
the fire were damaged 

"Spontaneous human 
combustion is simi ■■ 
necessary explanation. 
Mickell maintains. "If you 
study the stories on a case- 
by- case basis, you find 
not just that they can be ex- 
plained, but frequently that 
the causes are fairly ob- 
vious — a victim's pipe is near 
the body, or there s ■ 
lamp next to the remains." In 
a humber of instances, the 
bodies were found next 
to fireplaces. 

Nickell's investigation did. 
however, substantiate one 
bit ol folklore— that many 
victims are heavy drinkers 
bustion advocates have 
claimed that the presence di 
alcohol may help the body 
ignite. But Nickell and Fischer 
point out that "a drunken 
person would be more likely 
. to be careless with fire and 
less able to properly respond 
to an accident." 

—Jerome Clark 

lember Ango Brazil's 
abled "surgeon of the rusty 
knife" 9 His reputation was 
tarnished as badly as his 

cutlery when investigators 

removed from unbloody 

ge.on Amtm 
Greenlield, of the Lin 
ol Wisconsin, has been 

.., (Iv "I ■ ,- 

I ■.,-. -, 

. I . 
than Ango did 

lertorrn conventional 
surgery. "he Be 
some are trained doctors. 
Bui thev bi 

contact the spirits of de- 
ceased physicians who op- 

irough them, with 
skills noi a 
mg. They operate in 
state, without anesthetics or 
antiseptics " 

Though the prar::, i 
illegal, Brazil's psyct 
geonsare not iaolal 
or frauds preying on the 
credulous, Greenfiel 
Instead, they are Ca 
members of a spiritual sect 
with millions of members 
in Brazil alone. A pi 
tenet ol Cardecism is (he 
need lor charily Thus Carde- 
cist federations all over 
Brazil run a network of hospi- 
tals that. Greenfield reports, 
may be even more i 
than that of the Catholic 

The healers specialize in 
small operations. 'I've seen 
one pull an accident victim 

oul of a car wreck and begin 
work, the anthropologist 
comments. "The one I've 
studied most avoids deep- 
body operations." Instead, he 
removes early breast can- 
cers, skin tumors, and fleshy 
membranes over the eye. 

"He [ust tells the patient to 
think of God, holds the 
membrane with a pair of for- 
ceps, and ships it away 
with scissors," says Green- 
field, "If he's working before a 
large audience, he always 
has someone come along 
and spit in the incision or 
snove a dirty finger into it, 
lust lo prove that it will heal 
even if not kept sterile" 

After the operation, patients 
receive antibiotics and other 
treatment, just as after con- 
ventional surgery. Cancer 
patients are given standard 
treatment, including chemo- 
therapy or radiation. 

Greenfield has followed 
only a few patients, and 
never for longer than three or 
four weeks. Most are up 
and around the day after sur- 
gery, he says, and infections 

"In the deepest level ot the 
unconscious we find not 
fantasies, out telepathy ' 

—N. 0. Brown 

Several years ago. artist 
Robert LenKiewicz, of Plym- 
outh. England, discovered a 
quaint little man named 
Edward McKenzie living in a 
metal tub stuck in some 
tree branches. Lenkiewicz 

the tramp Diogenes, 
after the Greek philosopher, 
and the two soon became 
fast friends. 

But recently, when Di- 
ogenes died of cancer at age 
seventy-two, a local under- 
taker called the Plymouth 
Health Department with some 
startling news. Lenkiewicz 
was looking for a mortician to 
embalm the Old man so 

de body could be 
preserved and displayed 
in the artist's library. 

In Lenkiewicz s words 
Diogenes would essentially 
become "something like 
a large paperweight " 

Health officials quickly 
moved to locate the old man's 
remains "But," reports 
Plymouth environmental 
health officer Robert Fox, "we 
were too late. The body 
had been released from a 
hospital and embalmed 
by another mortician, and 
now we don't know where the 
corpse is bidden. Lenkiewicz 
refuses to say where it is 
except that it is outside of 
Plymouth, where we have no 

While investigators question 
local people for clues to 
Diogenes s whereabouts, 
Lenkiewicz ia keeping mum 
He argues that he is doing 
nothing new because bodies 
have been kept as memen- 
tos for centuries. "They 
are reminders to the living of 
their own mortality," Lenkie- 

wicz hastens to explain, 

Lenkiewicz says Diogenes 
looked much like a "miniaiure 
Father Christmas" when he 
was alive, in death, he adds, 
the hobo is "beautiful, haunt- 
ing, and strange: 

"He'd be smiling at all the 
attention and concern he 
is getting now. It's more than 
he ever goi when he was 
alive," Lenkiewicz says 
pointing out that the old man 
was fully aware of the artist's 
plan to keep him on display 
in his library. 

"That was fine with him," 
Lenkiewicz adds. "He used to 
say, 'While you are alive 
you can live in clover, but 
when you are dead, you are 
dead all over; " 

— Sherry Baker 

"It is not necessary lor the 
public to know whether I am 
joking or whether I am seri- 
ous. iust as it is not necessary 
tor me to know it myselt. " 

—Salvador Dall 

Jane's Spacecraft Direc- 
tory, the London-based en- 
cyclopedia ot spaceflight. 
disclosed a fascinating an- 
ecdote in its recent first 
edition. Two Soviet cosmo- 
nauts, the compendium 
announced, decided to drink 
away their troubles on an 
ill-fated space voyage in 197? 
Only the Soyuz 25 crew— 
Valen Ryumm and Leonid 
Popov— didn't turn to booze. 
Instead they saved their 
craft by drinking a huge, 
weightless blob of wafer 

it all started when the cos- 
monauts began watering a 
group of plants they had 
brought along on the flight as 
pari of an experiment But 
when Ryumin and Popov ac- 
cidentally spilled more than 
four pints of water, the mishap 
almost wrecked the Soviet 
space mission. Under 
weightless conditions, the 
water took on the shape of a 
gigantic, wet globule, floating 
dangerously near vital equip- 
ment and threatening to 
short-circuit controls. 

There was only one thing 
to do. The resourceful Rus- 
sians placed themselves 
on either side of the hovering 
blob and drank it. 

While no U.S. spacecraft 
has been similarly threatened, 
Terry White, of the Johnson 
Space Center, in Houston, 
points out that American 
astronauts have had small 
water spills on Skylab and 
Apollo missions The crew," 
he says, "had fo fly by and 
swat the floating water with a 
towel, or — -if It was clean 
wafer— they had to drink it" 
—Sherry Baker 

Mexicans may hot be the 
only illegal aliens sneaKmg 
over our southern border 
According to Dallas geo- 
physicist Lindy Whitehursf, 
extraterrestrial craft based 
m the remote jungles o! 
South America constantly 
slip past our radar and 
into border states, from Texas 
to California, 

The problem, Wi- 11 '- 
says, is that those who 
control American ra : ■ 
lantly scan northern regions 
most vulnerable to Soviet 
nuclear attack, but they 
generally ignore airspace in 
the south As a rest I 
says, an enemy attacking 
from the south would be 
immune to detection 

But UFO skeptic Js 
Oberg disagrees. "If Whue- 
hurst has noted craft crossing 
Ihe border a' 

says, "he may be detecting 
airborne drug smugglers, not 
aliens from outer space." 

— Margaret Sachs 

"We are hunting tor rational 
reasons for believing in 

the absurd " 

—Lawrence Durreli 


■ ■ 

■ ■■ ■ ■ .■ ■ 

the egg. 
Bui Schullerlin disagrees 
believe tiiis was 
meanl to happen, to draw 
attention to the real meaning 

od.tolive. His even 
; better Id dream, ana best 
of all, mother, is to awaken " 
- Antonio Machadv 

- , I . ■ 

i ioidur 

ian ly said 

March 3. 1984. started out 
a typical Saiur 
Resell household in Co I urn - 

But betore eve- 
ning, what the family now 

iree had made its 
lirsi appearance- Lights 

ind oil by them- 
.dim. The 
garbage disposal and micro- 
wave oven went into opera- 
tion. The shower began 

ng no one 
1'iinom. And the 
■ i sound although ll 
:dolf and the screen 

became clear that 
• was connected 
isence ot fourteen- 

Over the 
eral weeks, sheal- 
. iade candlesticks 
tumble across Ihe room, 
caused a phone to whiz 
above the sofa and forced 
the hall lamp to swing 
Word ol the torce soon 
says Tinas mother. Joan, 
more than 30 friends and re|- 
alives gathered lo watch 

\ .around the house 
Two religious groups at- 
tempted to exorciso the place 
bul were unsuccessful in 
quieting the seemingly para- 
normal events. 

in ABC -TV affiliate 

station videotaped a segment 
showing Tina near a "flying" 
lamp When played back 
in slow motion, the tape re- 
vealed Tina using her hand to 
move the lamp by its cord 
proof, many Claimed. Ihat 
Ihe case of the Columbus 
, an i . 

Foundation, in Chapel Hill. 
North Carolina, has studied 

irpdrted psychic 
abilities and insists the teen- 
ager moved Ihe lamp be- 
cause she wanted lo give the 
television crew a dramatic 
end lor then ■ report 

"I have observed Tina 
closely," he said, "and I don't 
believe her claims are in 
■ any way part of a hoax" 

Not everyone agrees, 
however A group called 
CSICOP (the Committee lor 
Ihe Scientific Investigation 
of Claims of the Paranormal) 
sent a team to Columbus 
to investigate the case. Al- 
though not allowed in Ihe 
Resch home, magician and 
CSICOP investigator James 
Randi studied photographs 
taken by Columbus Dispatch 
photographer Fred Shannon, 
which appear lo show a 
phone Hying through' the air 
Randi's conclusion? "One 

photograph definitely shows 
her pitching the phone 
across the room." 

But Shannon resents 
Randi's comments. "There 
was no hoax involved," 
be says "Tina's powers are 
frightening, and I feared 
for her safety. 

"Once, she was sitting on 
the arm of a chair with her 
arms toward me when I saw 
the sofa attack' her II slid 
eighteen inches, and I was 
afraid it would pin her legs I 
also saw the phone fly at 
leas! seven limes A couple 
of times if hit Tina so hard 
she screamed." 

According to Tina's mother, 
the past year has been 
rough on the family and her 
daughter, now the obiect 
of teasing and ridicule In 
school. "She can do this stuff 
at will." Joan Resch says. 
"But we've told her she can 
do it only in the lab.There's 
been a lot of damage lo 
our house from things flying 
around — holes in the walls 
and doors Believe me, this is 
nothing anybody would 
care to go through." 

— Sherry Baker 

7 fee/ as if I were parachuting 
down, down, with no hope 
of ever landing." 

—Jean Arp 



ning a business. aiuJ speaking. Last year. I 
made one hundred twelve speeches. Any 
one of l hose. activities could be a full-time 
job. I do it because I enjoy it, otherwise I 
would retire. The most important thing is that 
you get a job you like and look forward to. If 
you like it, you'll work sixty hours, and if you 
don't, you'll work twenty hours and feel like 
each hour is an imposition. 
Omni: Will the computer be a great equal- 
izer for women, helping them combine 
motherhood and their careers? 
Cetron: Absolutely, without question. First of 
all. women will be able to work at home. In 
1980, forty-live percent of both spouses 
worked full time. In 1983, it was fifty-one per- 
cent. By 1990, it will be sixty-five percent, 
and by 2000 it will be eighty-five percent. If 
we're going to a thirty-two-hour workweek 
by 1990 and twenty hours by 2000, the av- 
erage home will put in forty hours— twenty 
for the husband and twenty for the wife. 
When that happens, the husband will no 
longer come home, flop down in a chair, and 
say, "Honey, have you finished cooking din- 
ner? If so, make up the bed, and do the laun- 
dry and the vacuuming." She's going to tell 
him where to put the vacuum cleaner! We 
are getting a blurring of sexual roles in the 
home, the office, and even the factory, where 
twenty percent of the workforce will be fe- 

male in the Nineties Lower salaries for so- 
called women's jobs will disappear'. Al- 
though it's true that nurses, teachers, and 
secretaries are pan: loss because those are 
considered "women's jobs" and a second 
income, this is nonetheless an anachronism. 
Those careers constitute primary incomes. 
Omni: Do you think the computer will allow 
people to feel more; like; individuals when they 
do their work? 

Cetron: Yes, not comp-eiey. but more so than 
now. The reason we have more women in 
concert orchestras who are getting the same 
pay as men is that when they audition for 
those jobs they go behind screens, they take 
off their shoes, and whoever plays the in- 
strument better — man or woman — gets the 
job. The same thing is true in high tech. High 
tech is equal. Any young woman who doesn't 
get trained in computers and expects some 
guy on a white horse to come and carry her 
away is one person away from being on wel- 
fare. Half of those young women will end up 
getting divorced. 

Omni: What's the future lor low-tech indus- 
tries in a high-tech world? Heavy industry 
still makes up a large part ol our economy. 
Cetron: They'll slay, but fewer people will 
work there. We are headed for more auto- 
mation, especially in computer-aided de- 
sign and manufacturing. I do not see the 
world polarizing into only two classes, a 
..working class and a leisure class. What I do 
envision is one great big middle class — 
fewer people at the bottom not making it, 

and far fewer at the top making all of it. The 
loopholes that allow that to happen are being 
eliminated. The most highly paid people in 
the land will be writers, painters, musicians, 
actors, sculptors, and professional athletes. 
These people are unique: They can't be 
computerized or robotized. Because only 
twenty-live percent of our kids will go to col- 
lege, we must create a good service econ- 
omy. We need plumbers and electricians, 
most notably in the inner city, where we 
should instiiute a housing-rehabilitation pro- 
gram, such as paying a minimum wage to 
lenanls who live in public housing. If they 
can make their own repairs, it should come 
oil the rent. They could be trained as a group 
to do outside construction work as well. 
There was a lime when unions wouldn't per- 
mit thai, but now they don't have the clout 
they used to. 

Omni: You talk about both an enormous 
middle class and aboul the inner city, which 
suggests we'll still have poor people. Is this 
a contradiction? 

Cetron: There will be a poor class, but I be- 
lieve it could be a class of people trained to 
do special jobs. They may not be reedu- 
cated, but they will be retrained to do some- 
thing productive. There will be jobs available 
for people who haven't got skills, such as 
working in day-care centers, in service jobs, 
handiwork, things like that. In general, in- 
come levels will converge. 
Omni: There appear to be too many lawyers 
and doctors in America, charging ever- 
higher fees. Will this continue? 
Celran: We'll move more and more toward 
paralegals, with computers doing more and 
more of the legwork — the briefing work. 
Many paralegals are competing lor legal 
work even now. The same job you pay a law- 
yer six hundred dollars to do can be done 
by a paralegal for seventy-five dollars. Law- 
yers are pricing themselves out of the mar- 
ket in some cases. I'm not agreeing wiih 
Sweden when they say lawyers are para- 
sites, but I wonder sometimes about the 
contribution lawyers really make. There will 
be fewer lawyers, and they'll be paid less. 
The same goes for doctors. We are going to 
have more paramedics and emergency- 
medical technicians working much more in 
hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. 
Ompi: Let's talk about the future of the Sun- 
bell, Are all the jobs migrating to Florida, 
Texas, and Southern California? 
Cetron: That's only partly true. Jobs are also 
springing up in Allanta, North Carolina, and 
Silicon Valley, where unions are weaker and 
there are right-to-work laws. The jobs are also 
shifting to places that provide lor good vo- 
cational training, especially in high tech. 
There will be other moves in the Nineties. If 
the findings of a study at the University of 
New Mexico — that salt water can be used 
to grow certain kinds of crops — prove ac- 
curate, then states like New Mexico, Ari- 
zona, Nevada, southern Utah, and northern 
Texas will benefit and start to grow in pop- 
ulation. The growth regions of the future must 
have a few things going for them. They need 
a right-to-work law because it's important for 

100 OMNI 

corporations. They have to have good 
schools, good vocational training. That 
means having computers in schools and 
paying teachers decent salaries. If you're 
looking for biomedical engineering and 
bionics. Utah is the place to go. For elec- 
tronics and microcomputers, it's California. 
For manufacturing, then it's the rest ot the 
Sunbelt— Florida and Texas in particular. 
Within these parts of the country there are 
three kinds of industries that are expanding 
faster than any others. First is health care, 
bionics, biomedical engineering, and ge- 
netic research. Universities are important 
here, since companies doing the work re- 
quire access to professors and good grad- 
uate assistants. These companies flourish in 
California. The second type of rapidly ex- 
panding industries are robotics, computer- 
aided design, and computer-aided manu- 
facturing. Florida is doing a great job in this 
field, as is the Pittsburgh area, because of 
the involvement of Carnegie-Mellon and 
Westinghouse. The third area is telecom- 
munications and artificial intelligence, es- 
pecially fifth-generation and voice-actuated 
computers. Here, it's Texas, most notably 
Austin, where IBM has set itself up. 
Omni: Would you back up a step and talk 
about the future of genetic engineering? 
Cetron: I anticipate that we'll use genetic en- 
gineering — gene splicing — very shortly to 
fix a deformed arm or leg. I think this kind of 
genetic engineering will be common by the" 
year 2000 or 2010, when it will become po- 
litically and socially acceptable. The parallel 
is women's rights. Women over tifty-five in 
general still feel their job is to slay home, take 
care of the home, and bask in the glory of 
their husbands. The woman .under twenty- 
five knows there's no job she can't have. The 
only job a woman won't have by the year 
2000 is that of Catholic priest. Cloning hu- 
man brains is another matter, as is cloning 
as a means of reproduction. Perhaps nei- 
ther will ever become popular. The use of 
cloning mechanisms implanted in embryos 
lo keep viruses from entering, cells may, 
however, become common shortly after the 
beginning of the next century. At about lhal 
same time almost all childhood diseases will 
be eradicated, and half the cancers we know 
about will be under control. Skin, breast, and 
cervical cancer — we'll be able to cure all of 
these. And by 2010 or 2020 we'll have ninety 
percent of the forms of cancer under con- 
trol. The tough ones will be the cancers that 
strike such vital organs as the liver, kidney, 
or pancreas. 

We're looking at the regeneration of fin- 
gers and toes right now, and I think we'll ac- 
complish this feat in the next thirty-five years. 
The regeneration of human internal organs 
won't take place until 2050 at the earliest. 
Plastic surgery will be improved to the point 
where surgeons will reshape parts of the 
body without scalpel and without pain. I'd 
say you're talking here about 2010 or 2020. 
Omni: In Encounters With the Future, you 
talked about people living as long as trees. 
What's your forecast for the human life span? 
Cetron: Around about 2050, the average hu- 

man life span will be out' hundred years ni 
perhaps even a little more. Every three years 
and nine months, a child being born lives a 
year longer. My grandson, who is two years 
old. can expect to live more than eighty years 
even if he enjoys only an average life span 
His grandchildren in 2050 will have an av- 
erage age of one hundred. 
Omni: Urban planners are quite worried 
about the future of our largest cities, espe- 
cially the oldes! and ihe biggest cities, such 
as Now York, which have lost jobs and pop- 
ulation in the last five to ten years. What are 
your thoughts on the subject? 
Cetron: I haven't got too much hope lor our 
largest cities, especially New York— includ- 
ing the borough of Manhattan. Cities with 
populations of more than three million are in 
big trouble because the reasons we Origi- 
nally built big cities no longer exist. Cities 
used to be the places where we had good 
roads, and roads outside cities were dirt. 
Now the only places in which you can't drive 
are the big cities Cities used to have the 


the year 2000, travel 

agencies will 

get together with NASA 

and offer two- 
day shuttle trips, which 
might he 
called celestial weekends.^ 

-best schools; now the best schools are in 
the suburbs. Cities used to be the best 
places to shop: now it's the mails outside 
the cities. City offices used to be the only 
place for commerce, but now office work can 
be done by telephone, interactive cable, 
connected computers, and swift connec- 
tions like Federal Express. Mew York City is 
not as bad off a place as Detroit, but I 
wouldn't put much money into New York City 
Los Angeles ■sr.'i going to be as bad off as 
the rest because it is spread out, not up. 
Houston also looks okay because it is, a 
newer city and doesn't have a large concen- 
tration of the very poor. The city problems 
run deep on both coasts, from Boston down 
to Norfolk. Virginia, in the East, and Seattle 
to San Diego in the West. 
Omni: Going back to computers, when will 
schools start using computers to teach chil- 
dren basics.- ■ the so-called three R's? 
Cetron: The job-training partnership, the 
federal government, and the computer 
manufacturers themselves will make com- 
puters available to the schools. The kids will 
use the computers in the daytime. At night 
they'll be turned over to people lacking ad- 
equate computer skills or to people be- 

tween jobs who need lo he letrained for their 
next job. At the age of three or four, kids will 
start special courses to become computer 
literate. At a leading university, I saw kids 
only two and a half using computers, partly 
because they didn't have the coordination 
to write. They use shortened words like Ed 
for Edward, and Jim for James. The. com- 
puter says, good morning, ed. how are you 
today? Two faces light upon the screen, and 
a smiling face reads fine, and a frowning 
face, bad. If the child chooses bad, the com- 
There's no question of age. All the kids 
need is to be able to walk and be toilet- 
trained. By the way, they had Saran Wrap 
over the keyboards so Ihe kids wouldn't mess 
them up with candy or soft drinks. My wife, 
Gloria, teaches kindergarten, where you 
have to learn sixteen key words before the 
first grade. Words like run, see, in, and on. 
One little girl said. "Mrs. Cetron, I can spell 
run." Gloria said. "Okay, go ahead and spell 
it." The kid said, "R-U-N, carriage return." 
The kid has a computer and is already on 
her way to becoming computer literate. 
Omni: What do you see unfolding out there 
in the dark seas of space? 
Cetron: The first man to land on Mars won't 
get there for al least another sixty years. I 
think travel agencies will get together with 
NASA by the turn of the century and offer 
two-day shuttle trips, which might be called 
celestial weekends. It's technically feasible 
and politically acceptable now but not yet 
economically viable. The first child will be 
born in space around 2010 or 2015. There 
will be a space station out there on which 
people live and work. As a natural part of 
living, it will happen. I doubt that men and 
women will ever venture outside our own so- 
lar system, for the simple reason that it is not 
possible for any object to travel faster than 
the speed of light. E still eguals mc". 
Omni: Here's a final guestion that you might 
think is right off the wall: What's in the future 
for things like greed, lust, dishonesty, cor- 
ruption, and power plays? Will mankind's 
basic character improve? 
Cetron: There is a dishonest streak in most 
of us, and people will never change. When 
there's enough money involved, you'll cor- 
rupt someone. It's that simple. Any individ- 
ual's tirst step is to learn survival: food, cloth- 
ing, and shelter. Then he or she takes a 
higher step: education, professional devel- 
opment. Step three is community relations, 
putting money into the United Fund, the hu- 
manities, helping the Salvation Army, and 
even joining a church group. The question 
is, Should we train the right people to do the 
right things at the right times? I doubt that 
Harvard Business School helps. They're al- 
ways saying, "bottom line, bottom line," but 
that bottom-line business is killing us. Bot- - 
torn liners don't spend money for either re- 
search and development or for education 
and retraining. Look at China. China is grow- 
ing because its loaders believe in long-term 
growth and because they understand that 
the most important way to achieve that 
growth is to educate their people. DO 

Is There an Invisible 
Influence Upon Our Lipes? 


Out There 


Other Minds 

Does man stand alone inthetideless 
ocean of space? Is earth the only 
habitat of intelligent beings? Cer- 
tainly the phenomenon of life is not a 
chance once. Somewhere in the 
countless shining orbs are minds . . . 
how puny by comparison in mental 
and psychic stature we may be! 
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outside the doors. None in Ihe trees, as far 
as he could see. 

But he thought he saw something over 
beside the wall. A bulge in the shadows that 
moved every now and then, not swaying in 
the slight breeze. A man, moving from one 
fool to the other. 

An external guard, then. One of Resnick's 
men. Or a commercial cop hired by the 
building. The guard would have seen Bren- 
nan shoot the breeze with the elevator guard 
inside. He'd probably write him off as a per- 
sisi.ori nobody. 

The hotness flooded through his guts 
again. Burning coils crawled up through him, 
adding to the weight in his belly. 

He bit his lip. He was scared — sure. But 
he had thought it over, and he couldn't hold 
onto his self-respect if he didn't go through 
with this. 

He shivered and thrust his hands deep 
into his coat pockets. Should have remem- 
bered to wear gloves. On She other hand, 
they 'd get in the way. 

He could hear his wristwatch ticking, it was 
that quiet. Seconds dropping away, gone 
torever. Light snowflakes fell from the hard 
blackness above. 

That was how the TV guy had said it was 
for Resnick. 

Spinning slowly in a tank in a drifting, aim- 
less dream, the fluids filling his lungs, invad- 
ing his tissues, finding the cancerous cells 
and renegade chemicals, devouring them, 
scraping away the cellular grime of a life- 
time, subtracting years from Resnick's body 
while he swam — erasing, healing, curing, his 
skin silently shedding like snowflakes in a 
night of spongy sleep. 

At first the story had been that this was a 
radical new treatment for advanced cancer. 
That Resnick was a hero because he put a 
lot of his own money into the research, year 
after year, while his own cancer was chew- 
ing at him. 

They held it off with chemotherapy and 
burned it out with radioactivity and all the 
time tried this new method — a cancer-seek- 
ing molecule that would go for mutated cells, 
comparing them with the body's own healthy 
cells and killing them off if they didn't match. 
High risk. High cost. 

And it worked. It aced out the bone-mar- 
row cancer, and it erased a lot of other dis- 
eases Resnick might have, or was about to 
get, lying in wait down there in the cells. It 
he caught anything else or developed more 
cancers, they'd pop him back in the tank for 
a while, clean him out, put him back on Ihe 

Change the oil, fella. And lube it. Ten mil- 
lion bucks? Put it on the card. 

Resnick volunteered for it, same as the 
guys who volunteered for artificial hearts and 
kidneys and lungs. 

Only Resnick had bought his way in. spent 
hundreds of millions — because otherwise 
nobody, not even the government, was going 

to buy a cure at that price. 

And it would stay that way. The p 
took dozens of specialists working three 
shifts a day, month after month. Nothing you 
could make copies of, like an artificial heart. 
Labor. Expensive labor. So the Resnicks of 
the world could buy it. 

And nobody else. - 

Brennan sgueezed the revolver in his 

Across the garden, under a tree, another 
shadow faded and then reappeared. An- 
other. They had guards everywhere. 

He realized he had been standing still for 
a long time, like he was hiding. Exactly the 
wrong thing to do. 

He paced out to the walkway, around some 
bushes, and back to some nearby trees. He 
tried to look impatient and stamped his feet 
to keep warm. 

The guard inside was just hired help, a 
rent-a-cop. He didn't have the checklist of 
newsmen, probably didn't know there was 
one.' If Resnick's main party had braced 
Brennan, or the men in the shadows had 
stopped him, they would have known the 
Herald wouldn't send a stringer for this job. 
Brennan had already seen Watkins, one of 
the Herald's best front-page men, back at 
the hospital. 

So until somebody in the know saw Bren- 
nan and didn't recognize him, he was okay. 
The men in the garden had taken the ele- 
vator guard's acceptance as good enough. 
He was still safe. 

But they would see immediately that 
something was wrong if Brennan got too ex- 
cited, went for Resnick, tried to get in close. 
So it would have to be a long shot— and a 
good one. 

He hadn't fired the thirty-two in ten years 
at least, had forgotten he had it until he was 
lying up in that hospital, watching the news, 
trying not. to think about the tubes they had 
up his ass and down his throat, plastic and 
wires and barium enemas and endless 
X rays; trying to find the bowel cancer, track- 
ing it down so they could cut him open again 
and again, running up the bills, shooting him 
so full of dope he couldn't think straight, so 
he'd wake up sweating at night, the red fever 
dreams swarming in his head, and next 
morning they'd make him collect his shit in 
a bag — 

The elevator door opened. 

Resnick was looking straight out at him 
through the glass, smiling broadly. 

Brennan felt hot oil sliding through his guts. 

Resnick stepped out of the elevator, talk- 
ing to the bland-faced man next to him, nod- 
ding to the guard. 

Smoking a cigarette. Grinning. Looking 
forward to the Hilton. 

The two shadows in the garden were 
moving. Silhouettes melted from one tree to 
the next. Converging on the path, to cover 
Resnick when he came out 

Well, Brennan wasn't going to give them 
an easy target. He would stay where he was. 
fire from the darkness. 

He had been a pretty good shot once. He 
could get in two, maybe three before they 

knew who the hell he was. 

All (he cancer baths in ihe world couldn't 
fix up bullet holes. 

Resnick pushed open the glass door him- 
self, beaming. He was coming out, on his 
way to the Hilton to meet all his famous. 
friends. - 

There was a tall, leggy woman with him, 
twenty years younger than Resnick, bru- 
nette, her full, red lips set in an easy, supe- 
rior smile. High-heeled shoes and a while 
gown under the fur coat. 

She said something light and airy, and a 

murmur of conversation came across the 

■ chilled air. 

Two guards walked in front. Breni 
sucked in a breath and held it, leveling the 
pistol on Resnick's outline, squeezing a little 
on the trigger already. Two-handed, hands 
in front, professional style. Waiting until there 
was a clear space between trees, enough 
angle for a clean— 

A shot boomed. A man in front shouted 
something, and an orange flash came from 
across the garden. 

Two quick explosions. 

Screaming. A muzzle flash, then another. 

Brennan froze, his finger rigid. He hadn't 

Two figures were down on the walkway, 
and Ihe tall woman was stumbling back to- 
ward the elevators, a high, ragged scream 
coming from her. 

A man ran into the trees, away from Bren- 
nan, and fired three limes at a shadow. It 

"Hurry, get a doctor! Get a doctor!" some- 
one shouted. A dark figure bent over the ■ 
walkway and then jumped up and pounded 
into the foyer. 

Brennan walked silently past Resnick's 
sprawled form. The eyes stared blankly up 
at Ihe falling white flakes. 

Two men were bent over him. trying to get 
some signs of life out of the body, bu! there 
was a big hole in the chest. 

A dark stain spread over the Wertmeiler 

Nobody noticed Brennan. He walked to 
the first body under ihe trees and rolled it 
over. II was a man, emaciated, skin mottled. 
A pistol lay on the snow. 

The second was a woman, still alive. She 
was about sixty years old, and a sour brealh 
came out of her, a smell he knew was not 
righl and would not get right. She had a 
shoulder wound. 

No weapon visible. He felt in her coat 
pocket. A kitchen knife. 

She blinked up at the night above, not 
seeing him. Her lips were moving, but no 
sound came out. 

Brennan didn't say anything to her. He 
walked away through the trees. 

Nobody tried to stop him. They were all 
running around and yelling. 

His gut didn't burn anymore, but he knew 
it would tomorrow. That didn't matter. What 
made him feel good, really good, as he hit 
the cold, slick street, was that there were 
other sick people in the world, millions of 
them, a lot more lhan there would ever be 


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When boredom and fatigue are added to 
visual deprivation, the hungry brain may ea- 
gerly garnish the eye's glow ng creations with 
more complex pictures, including laces, 
landscapes, fantasy creatures, and visions 
from the past. In fact, when subjects in sen- 
sory-deprivation studies are confined to dark 
chambers, tank-type respirators, or moving 
swings, optical images turn into elaborate 
hallucinations in as little as ten minutes. 

Isolation and solitude can also increase 
the need to search for visual signals, real or 
imagined. After eight days in a dark pod, 
■ Claude willingly self-adminislered dimethyl 
tryptamine, a powerful hallucinogen that 
mimics the effects of light on the retina and 
is always shunned by primates with ade- 
quate visual stimulation. In featureless envi- 
ronments not unlike deep space, explorers 
sailing around the world or crossing Antarc- 
tica have frequently hallucinated imaginary 
companions. Explorer Christiane Ririer, in the 
depression of the long polar nighl, searched 
for the noisy phantoms she knew were un- 
real. And the astronaut stranded on an alien 
plane! in Fredric Brown's story "Something 
Green" talked to an imaginary alien that rode 
on his shoulder. If HAL is not around, it can 
be conjured up with the same ease that al- 
lows children to make calls on toy phones. 

Such hallucinations become especially 
intense when combined with life-threatening 
danger. Hostages, for example, report float- 
ing or falling through tunnels of brightly col- 
ored geometric patterns, then emerging into 
a hallucinatory wonderland. A combat pilot, 
terrorized by a loss of pressure, fell he was 
floating outside his plane amid lights and 
hometown friends. A window cleaner who 
barely survived a fall from a Los Angeles 
skyscraper claimed that a UFO had res- 
cued him from a tunnel of lights. 

In some instances, fear may be great 
enough to catapult an astronaut into a mysti- 
cal state of consciousness, a condition that 
suppresses the ability to act. The astro- 
nauts, in fact, can be compared with the 
"psychonauts" I studied at UCLAs Neuro- 
psychiatric Institute from 1972 through 1977. 
Trained to take highly controlled LSD flights 
into inner space, these subjects could de- 
scribe hallucinations in precise language, 
defining a color, tor instance, to within a few 
millimicrons "of its spectral wavelength. Bui 
when confronted with bewildering halluci- 
nations and psychological fear of death, 
these specialists were unable to operate 
computer keys or aircraft joysticks. Fiats 
treated with hallucinogens at the Stanford 
Research Institute failed to navigate familiar 
underwater mazes, even when survival was 
at stake. Sensory bombardment may be a 
life-inspiring mystical experience in the safety 
of your home, but it could be death-inviting 
madness for astronauts en route to the stars. 

Successful navigation through the per- 
ceptual maze of spaceflight will bring us to 
alien shores dissociated and confused and 
104 OMNI 

thus suscepKbk-Hounpre-diolable reactions. 
And without the benefit of exo psychologists, 
the aliens might be in even more of a quan- 
dary than we. In short! the potential for bad 
or lethal behavior on I'rsl contact will be great. 

One clue as to what rri'.c.h; happen can be 
gleaned from the story of a U.S. medical team 
making first contact with a group of Huichol 
Indians isolated by the forbidding Sierra 
Madre Occidental, a mountain raYige in 
western Mexico, though the year was 1972, 
the team had arrived on horses much as 
Cortez had done. Even though the Ameri- 
cans had hidden all technology from view, 
the natives were alarmed by the alien pres- 
ence and ieac;eo with xenophobia. 

A widespread benaviora trait throughout 
the animal kingdom, xenophobia is defined 
as intolerance and aggression toward 
strangers. Claude's free-ranging simian 
counterparts in India would have repelled 
him with threats and direct attacks. And the 
mild-mannered Huichols were antisocial as 
well. As the learn came onto the mesa, the 
Huichols lied to their huts, leaving a small 
baby to sun in the yard. 

The Huichols hid for four days, emerging 
only to retrieve the baby each night. Mean- 
while, the medica: loam's repeated contact 
with the infant eventually brought out the 
adult females. And the next team to visil — 
an anthropologist and her infant daughter- 
were fully accepied. 

Psychologists have atYbi.ied this even- 
tual acceptance to what they call stimulus 
generalization, defined as the ease with 
which one can see the familiar in the unfa- 
miliar. II the alien resembles a familiar stim- 
ulus (the infant), it will generally be ac- 
cepied. and a broad stimulus generalization 
" is said to occur. When the alien is different 
from a known stimulus (Ihe tarantula), the re- 
action is fear, and a narrow stimulus gener- 
alization results When the gan" batiike al en 
in Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End 
cradled two human children .during ils lirst 
appearance, Ihe stimulus similarities over- 
shadowed the fear. 

If we are to turn terror into thanksgiving on 
first contact, we will have to increase stimu- 
lus generalization by learning to relate to 
creatures that may seem bizarre. Through 
repeated trials with strange species, for ex- 
ample, Claude acquired a concept of "alien" 
that allowed him to explore more freely and 
defecate less when presented with new en- 
counters. Training human contact teams, first 
in the altered environmerr of spaceflight and, 
ultimately, in anthropological and etiologi- 
cal settings where perception can be 
broadened and prejudices narrowed, will 
help us see the star child at Ihe end of the 
corridor as one of our own. And on the day 
we slip info our pumpkin suit to greei our 
neighbors from beyond, we might recall 
.Claude's experiences here on Earth. Re- 
member: Don't crap in your pants, and send 
out the women and children first. DO 

Editors' note: Ronald K. Siegel is an experimen- 
tal psyenciogisi and psycnopharmacologist at 
UCk As Neuropsychiatry Institute. 


remarks because rhoir coping mechanisms 
are not functioning. 

Conversely, deliberately olfering positive 
suggestions during surgery may speed re- 
covery. Bennelt is now trying out what he 
calls' preoperative suggestions. On Ihe day 
before an operation, he sits with a patient 
and suggests that certain Ihings will happen 
to the individual's body during surgery. To a 
woman scheduled for a hysterectomy, for 
example, some of his' suggestions were: 
"Starting tonight and into tomorrow. Ihe blood 
is going to move away from your abdomen 
and into your arms and legs. At the end ol 
your surgery, all the muscles in your abdo- 
men will be relaxed," 

Bennett is concentrating on blood flow 
because Ihere is ample evidence from his 
.own and other research that it can be di- 
rected. Also, it provides an objective meas- 
ure of how effective suggestions are. "We've 
had encouraging results so far," he says. 
Surgeons who aren't told which patients have 
been given suggestions have been saying 
things like, 'Hey! This guy is not bleeding 
very much,' " 

Despite Ihe evidence, the medical com- 
munity remains skeptical, and the use of 
Constructive suggestion under anesthesia 
has yet to become as commonplace in the 
operating room as the scalpel is. 

Though this attitude may be prevalent in 
the medical community, there are excep- 
tions, One is Dr. David Bradley Cheek, a San 
Francisco gynecologist. His studies during 
the Sixties of surgical- pat tent recall inspired 
Henry 'Bennett to conduct his own research. 
Cheek once recommended that every op- 
erating room, recovery room, and intensive- 
care unit bear a sign that read: be careful, 


Another believer is Dr. Bernard Siegel, a 
surgeon in New Haven. Connecticut, with 20 
years of experience. For the past five years, 
Siegel has deliberately sooken messages of 
support to his anesthe:ized patients and has 
seen them recover with fewer complica- 
tions. "People are afraid of anesthesia," says 
Siegel, "so before Ihe operation, I tell my pa- 
tients, 'Don't worry, we will still be in contact.' 
Then during surgery, I talk to their uncon- 
scious. I tell them pes live things about their 
problems; I ask them not to bleed; and I toil 
them Ihey will wake up comfortable, hungry, 
and thirsty," 

And there are other encouraging devel- 
opments. Frank Guerra, an anesthesiologist 
and psychiatrist at Denver Presbyterian, has 
launched a newsletter, Human Aspects ol 
Anesthesia, which is sent to anesthesiolo- 
gists, Its purpose, he says, is to make his 
colleagues realize that what they are doing 
in the operating room has critical psycho- 
logical significance for their patients and that 
"whether or not they believe that the patient 
is going to have any kind of perception or 
memory," Guerra says, "they should behave 
as if this were the caso."DQ 


knee by rejoining the femur and tibia but acts 
as a. sort of scaffold on which new connec- 
tive tissue can grow. During the three years 
the operation has been employed, pa- 
tients—including a' semi professional foot- 
ball player and several gymnasts— have 
been able to jog within seven months and 
resume full aciivity in less than a year. 

One orthopedist who is saying yes even 
to pro athletes is Royer Collins, of Wen- 
alchee. Washington. Collins belongs to a 
group of 20 physicians around the country 
. who are implanting artificial ligaments made 
of a material called Gore-Tex. 

"It's a relative of the same stuff they use in 
raincoats," Collins says. "It doesn't deform, 
if doesn't stretch out, and it's three times 
sironger than human ligaments." 

So far the group has used the Gore-Tex 
ligament in 325 human patienis. Only six 
people have experienced complications. 
"We're very pleased," he adds. "With most 
ligament reconstruction it takes a year be- 
fore people can start doing things. With 
Gore-Tex we've had people back to full ac- 
tivity in a month." 

But what about those people who require 
a whole new knee? Will there ever be a day 
when someone with an advanced and 
chronic prob.e- ca" have the entire joint re- 

placed? The Coses' IVig n existence is the 
Total Knee, an arf if icial joint in which menisci 
and articular cartilage are eliminated, and 
the damaged ends of femur and tibia are 
replaced by titanium or a chrome-cobalt al- 
loy, (The patient's own ligaments are nor- 
mally used to join the iwo bones.) 

"It's very much like having your brakes re- 
lined," says David Hungerford, of Johns 
Hopkins University, who developed one of 
the many versions of the Toial Knee. But be- 
cause the cement that joins the metal sur- 
faces to the face of the bone does not hold 
up under unusual stress, the Total Knee is 
used only for seriously crippled palients. 

Martin Altchek, a Middletown, New York, 
orthopedist who has successfully used aTo- 
tal Knee in 73 arthritis patients, agrees. "I 
would never put one in an athlete," he says. 
Then what can be done for Joe"? "What we 
need for people like thai," Hungerford says, 
"is a basic understanding at the cellular level 
of how the various parts of the knee are 
made. We need to be able to tell cells to 
manufacture whatever Is necessary to re- 
habilitate Joe Namath's knees." This is not 
beyond the realm of possibility. 'After all," he 
says, "scientists can now program an E. coti 
bacteria to make human insulin." 

In Los Angeles the programming has al- 
ready started. During the last five years. 
Douglas Jackson and his colleagues have 
'taken cells from goat ligaments, cultured 

special lattice to give the cells the correct 
structure. "In effect," Jackson says, 'we're 
producing test-tube ligaments now." Jack- 
son has implanted some of these ligaments 
in goats' knees, but the results have not been 
as good as with more standard methods. 

On the encouraging side, none of the pos- 
sible problems— rejection, cell disease, or 
cancer-causing "invasion"— have material- 
ized. Jackson is sufficiently pleased by the 
work on animals to have gone on to the next 
step: successfully culturing human ligament 
tissue in solution. Can this tissue then be im- 
planted in a human patient? "We're con- 
vinced that it can," Jackson says. "Bui be- 
fore we do it, we first have to be convinced 
that it works and that it can be done safely." 
Hungerford views Jackson's work as a 
possible first step toward what might be 
called the Omega Knee— a joint grown en- 
tirely from a person's own cells. "Let's say we 
make a model of Joe Namath's knees, then 
make a mold based on the model," he sug- 
gests. "Then we take some of Namath's cells, 
grow them in culture, and say. 'Okay, guys, 
go to it Turn that mold into articular carti- 
lage, or ligaments, or whatever's needed.' In 
a month or so, when its grown, we take it 
and- then we surgically implant in into Na- 
math's knees. We make his knees normal. 

"We don't have the information to do that 
yet " Hungerford concludes. "But I believe 

annrui cannPETiToru 

-ador D.ali. has- peppered f. 


spooking me with Ihem? Don't call again. 

"But, you called me!" " 

"Hang up, Emma!" 

Emma Crowley hung up. 

In the hall at three-fifteen in the cold morn- 
ing, Clara Peck glided out, stood for a mo- 
ment, then pointed up at the ceiling, as if to 
provoke it. 

"Ghosts?" she whispered. 

The trapdoor's hinges, lost in the night 
above, oiled themselves with wind. 

Clara Peck turned slowly and went back 
inside, and thinking about every movement, 
got into her bed. 

She woke at four-twenty in the morning 
because a wind shook the house. 

Out in the hall, could it be? 

She strained. She tuned her ears. 

Very softly, very quietly, the trapdoor in the 
stairway ceiling squealed. 

And opened wide. 

Can't be! she thought. 

The door fell up, in, and down, with a thud. 

Is! she thought. 

I'll go make sure, she thought. 


She jumped, ran, locked the door, leaped 
back in bed. 

"Hello, Ratzawayl" she heard herself call, 
muffled, under the covers. 

Going downstairs, sleepless, at six in the 
morning, she kept her eyes straight ahead, 
so as not to see that dreadful ceiling. 

Halfway down she glanced back, started, 
and laughed. 

"Silly!" she cried. 

For the trapdoor was not open at all. 

It was shut. 

"Ratzaway?" she said, into the telephone 
receiver, at seven-thirty on a bright morning. 

It was noon when the Ratzaway inspec- 
tion truck stopped in front of Clara Peck's 
house. In the way that Mr. Timmons, Ihe 
young inspector, strolled with insolent dis- 
dain up the walk, Clara saw that he knew 
everything in the world about mice, termites, 
old maids, and odd late-night sounds. Mov- 
ing, he glanced around at the world with that 
fine masculine hauteur o! the bullfighter in 
mid-ring, or the sky diver fresh from ihe sky, 
or the womanizer lighting his cigarette, back 
turned to the poor creature in the bed be- 
hind him. As he pressed her door bell, he 
was God's messenger. When Clara opened 
the door she almost slammed it for the way 
his eyes peeled away her dress, her flesh, 
her thoughts. His smile was the alcoholic's 
smile. He was drunk on himself. There was 
only one thing to do. 

"Don't just stand there!" she shouted. 
"Make yourself useful!" She spun around and 
marched away from his shocked face. 

She glanced back to see if it had had the 
right effect. Very few women had ever talked 

Ihis way to him. He was studying the door. 
Then, curious, he stepped in. 

"Up here!" said Clara. 

She paraded through the hall, up the steps 
to the landing, where she had placed a 
step I adder. 

She thrust her hand up, pointing. 

"There's the attic. See if you can make 
sense out of the damned noises up there. 
And don't overcharge me when you're done. 
Wipe your feet when you come down. I got 
to go shopping. Can I trust you not to. steal 
me blind while I'm gone?" 

With each blow, she could see him veer 

His face flushed. His eyes shone. Before 
he could speak, she marched back down 
the steps to shrug on a light coat. 

"Do you know whal mice sound like in at- 
tics?" she said, over her shoulder. 

"I damn well do, lady," he said. 

"Clean up your language. You know rats? 
These could be rats or bigger. What's bigger 
in an attic?" 

"You got any raccoons around here?" 

"How'd they get in?" 

"Don't you know your own house, lady? I 
would think you — " 

But here they both stopped. 

For a sound had come from above. 

It was a small itch of a sound at first. Then 
it scratched. Then it gave a thump like a 
heart. Something moved in the attic. 

Timmons blinked up at the trapdoor and 
snorted loudly, "Hey!" 

Clara Peck nodded, satisfied, pulled on 
her gloves, adjusted her hat, watching. 

"It sounds like—" drawled Mr. Timmons. 


"Did a sea captain ever live in this house?" 
he asked, at last. 

The sound came again, unmistakably 
louder, from above. The whole house 
seemed to drift and whine with the weigh! 
that was being shitted above. 

"Sounds like cargo." Timmons shut his 
eyes to listen. "Cargo on a ship, sliding when 
the ship changes course." He broke into a 
laugh and opened his eyes. 

"Good God," said Clara, and she tried to 
imagine that. 

"On the other hand," said Mr. Timmons, 
half smiling up at that ceiling, "you got a 
greenhouse up there or something? Sounds 
like plants growing. Or a yeast, maybe, big 
as a doghouse, getting out of hand. I heard 
of a man who raised yeast in his cellar. It—" 

The front screen door slammed. 

Clara Peck, outside, glaring in at his jokes, 
said, "I'll be back in an hour. Jump!" 

She heard his laughter follow her down 
the walk as she marched. She hesitated only 
once to look back. 

The damn fool was standing at the foot of 
the ladder, looking up. Then he shrugged, 
gave a what-the-hell gesture, and — 

■ Scrambled up the stepladder like a sailor. 

When Clara Peck marched back an hour 
later, the Ratzaway truck still stood at the curb 
by her house. 

"Hell," she said to it, "thought he'd be done 

by now. Strange man tromping around, 
swearing — " 

She stopped and. listened to the house. 


"Odd," she muttered. 

"Mr. Timrnons!" she called. 

And realizing she was still twenty feel from 
the open front door, she approached to call 
through the screen. 

'Anyone home?" 

She stepped through the door into a si- 
lence like the silence in the old days before 
the mi.ee had begun to change to rats and 
the rats had danced themselves into some- 
• thing larger and darker on the upper attic 
decks. It was a silence that, if you breathed 
it in, smothered you. 

She swayed at the bottom of the flight ot 
stairs, gazing up, her groceries hugged like 
a dead child in her arms. 

"Mr, Timmons — ?" 

But the entire house was still. 

The portable ladder still stood waiting on 
the landing. 

But the trapdoor was shut. 

Well, he's obviously not up in there! she 
thought. He wouldn't climb and shut himself 
in. Damn fool's just gone away. 

She turned to squint out ai histruck aban- 
doned in the bright noon's glare. 

Truck's broke down, I imagine. He's gone 
for help. 

She. dumped her groceries in the kitchen 
and (or the first time in years, not knowing 
why, lit a cigarette, smoked it, lit another, and 
made a loud lunch, banging skillets and run- 
ning the can opener overtime. 

The house listened to all this and made 
no response. 

By two o'clock the silence hung about her 
like a cloud of floor polish. 

"Ratzaway," she said, as she dialed the 

The pest-company owner arrived halt an 
hour later, by motorcycle, to pick up the 
abandoned truck. Tipping his cap, he 
stepped in through the screen door to chat 
with Clara Peck and look at the empty rooms 
and weigh the silence. 

"No sweat, ma'am," he said, at last. "Char- 
lie's been on a lew benders lately. He'll show 
up to be fired tomorrow. What was he doing 
here?" He glanced up the stairs at the step- 

"Oh," said Clara Peck, quickly, "he was 
just looking at — everything." 

"I'll come, myself, tomorrow," said the 

And as he drove away into the afternoon, 
Clara Peck slowly moved up the stairs to lift 
her face toward the ceiling and watch the 

"He didn't see you, either:" 

Not a beam stirred, not a mouse danced 
in the attic. 

She stood like a statue, feeling the sun- 
light shift and lean through the front door. 

Why? she wondered. Why did I lie? 

Well, for one-thing, the trapdoor's shutjsn't 
it?' And, I don't know why, she thought, bur / 
won't want anyone go:ng ::p that ladder, ever 
again. Isn't that silly? Isn't that strange? 

She ate dinner early, listening. 

She washed the dishes, alert. 
, She put herself to bed at ten o'clock, but 
in the old downstairs maid's room, tor long 
years unused. Why she chose to lie in this 
downstairs room, she did not know; she sim- 
ply did it and lay there with aching ears and 
the pulse moving in her neck and in her brow. 

Rigid as a tomb carving under the sheet, 
she waited. 

Around midnignt, a wine passed, shook a 
pattern of leaves on her counterpane. Her 
eyes flicked wide. 

The beams of the house trembled. 

She lifted her head. 

Something whispered ever so' softly in the 
attic. She sat up. 

The sound grew louder, heavier, like a 
iarge but shapeless animal, prowling the at- 
tic dark. She placed her feet on the floor and 
sat looking at them. The noise came again, 
far up, a scramble like rabbits' feet, here, a 
thump like a iarge heart there. 

She slepped out into the downstairs haM 
and stood bathed in a moonlight that was 
like a pure, coo dawn [ iling the windows. 

Holding the banister, she moved stealthily : 
up the stairs. Reaching the landing, she 
touched the siepladder, then ra sed her eyes. 

She blinked. Her heart jumped, then held 
still. For as she watched, very slowly the 
trapdoor above her sank away. Itopened, to 
show her a waiting square of darkness like 
a '^ine shaft going up, without end. 
- '"I've had just about enough!" she cried. 

She rushed down to the kitchen and came 
storming back up with hammer and nails, to 
climb the ladder in furious leaps. 

"I don't believe any of this! " she cried. "No 
more, do you hear? Stop!" 

At the top of the ladder she had to stretch 
up into the attic, into the solid darkness with 
one hand and arm, which meant that her 
head had to poke halfway through. 

"Now!" she said. 

At that very instant, as her head shoved 
through and her fingers fumbled to find the 
trapdoor, a most startling, swift thing oc- 
curred. As if something had seized her head, 
as if she were a cork pulled from a bottle, 
her entire body, her arms, her straight-down 
legs were yanked up into the attic, 

She vanished like a magician's handker- 
chief, Like a marionette whose strings are 
grabbed by an unseen force, she whistled 
up. So swift was the motion, that the bed- 
room slippers were left standing on the step- 
ladder rungs. 

After that, there was no gasp, no scream. 
Just a long breaking si erco lor about ten 
seconds. Then, for ho seen reason, the trap- 
door slammed flat-down shut. 

A year later, a new family bought and 
moved into the silent house. 

Finding the trapdoor, the children climbed 
up, laughing, to throw wide the attic v 
dows and let the hot summer wind blow 
through all the empty spaces. 

Then, giggling and shouting, they climbed 
back down to a tine luncheon of ham sand- 
wiches and soup. DO 

Here's to 

V more, 


techniques, but he confesses to liking hyp- 
nosis a great deal. He says that the hypnotic 
view of the mind is "like a smudged window 
that's hard lo see through. Even so, we are 
beginning to observe forms of thinking, per- 
ceiving, and feeling that are barely hinted at 
in conventional lines of inquiry." 

Bowers's work is still in its infancy, and 
none of the Canadian scientists are sure what 
new information about the mind may come 
out of their continuing research. But at the 
very least, "intuition research and the work 
on the hidden observer will eventually 
. Ghange our way of looking at conscious- 
ness," concludes Laurence. 

In addition to using hypnosis as a valu- 
able entree to the unconscious, researchers 
are looking lo use it in a more concrete way. 
At Pennsylvania State Unversity, psycholo- 
gist Howard Hall declares, "I'm not all that 
interested in what hypnosis is but in what 
you can do with it. Can we alter various bio- 
chemical ar eters?" he 
asks. He believes we can. 

Among the things Hall has been trying io 
do is see whether the brain can affect the 
body's main line ot self-defense against dis- 
ease, Ihe immune system. In one test, he 
took blood samples from 20 healthy people, 
hypnotized them, and then asked them to 
visualize their white blood cells as sharks at- 
tacking and wiping out cancer cells. 

Then he had group members learn self- 
hypnosis. After they had practiced it at home 
twice a day for a week, he took, a" second 
blood sample. The results; The younger, 
highly hypnotizable subjects managed to 
raise their white-blood-cell counts from 
13,508 before hypnosis to 15,192 after prac- 
ticing self-hypnosis. Hall's conclusion: "The 
mind can influence the body by changing 
the biochemistry of the blood." 

Hall's experiment was inspired by the work 
of Carl Simonton, a radiation oncologist, and. 
Stephanie Matthews-Smonton, a psycho- 
therapist. The two had devised a visualiza- 
tion/relaxation procedure that they used 
along with traditional methods for treating 
cancer patients. Patients were asked to 
imagine their, white blood cells as powerful 
creatures devouring weak, confused can- 
cer cells. The Simontons tested this tech- 
nique on 159 "incurable" cancer patients. 
Two years later, 63 of them were still alive 
and in improved health. One explanation for 
what happened, the Simontons said, was that 
these mental exercises enhanced immunity. 

A few short years ago. such an idea would 
have been rejected by medical science as 
preposterous. The immune system was 
thought to operate autonomously. But re- 
cent discoveries have shown that there is.an 
intimate and barely explored link connect- 
ing the brain, the central nervous system, 
and immunity.-' 

During the late Seventies, Vernon Riley, a 
cancer biologist at the Pacific Northwest Re- 
search Federation, in Seattle, demonstrated 
112 ' OMNI 

that the immune systems of unstressed mice 
were able to contain Ihe growth of experi- 
mentally implanted cancer cells. When he 
stressed the animals, the tumors grew and 
the animals died. 

Lesser ailments have also responded to 
hypnosis. Warts, a common skin disease of 
viral origin, have been especially suscepti- 
ble. Theodore Barber, a psychiatrist at 
Cushing Hospital, in Framingham, Massa- 
chusetts, and a longtime practitioner and 
chronicler of hypnosis, has listed sound sci- 
eniific studies, going back to Ihe Fifties, 
demonstrating that warts could literally be 
hypnotized away, 

In his own work, Barber cites one remark- 
able case of a woman whose body had been 
covered by 39 warts for three years. After 
two sessions ot hypnosis, during which she 
was told to imagine each wart tingling and 
eventually vanishing, 37 of them disap- 
peared completely. 

Hall- has also been experimenting with 
other nonimmunological applications of 

6/n one test a group 

of hypnotized 

subjects rattled off the names 

of colors on a 

chart, unaware that one of 

their hands held 

a pencil that was adding a 

column of numbers.^ 

hypnosis. One ininguing iesl he has done 
suggests that hypnosis can be used to pro- 
tect the hearing of a person exposed to loud 
noises. It is a known medical fact that peo- 
ple who routinely work in noisy environments 
eventually lose some of their hearing. 

In his test Hall look two groups of people 
and blasted each with loud (about 115-dec- 
ibel) noise. The unhypnotized group- was 
asked to sit and do a crossword puzzle while 
being bombarded with sound. The hypno- 
tized group was given the suggestion to 
imagine themselves wearing earmuffs that 
filtered out some of the noise, muting it to 
normal levels. When tested later, those who 
did the crossword puzzles suffered notice- 
ably more of a temporary loss in hearing than 
the people with the imaginary earmuffs. 

Others besides Hall have been intrigued 
by the medical potential of hypnosis. In Bos- 
ton, for example, psychiatrist Fred Frankel, 
a Harvard professor and the acting director 
of the department of psychiatry at Beth Is- 
rael Hospital, is working with colleagues to 
see whether thoughts can alter the workings 
of the immune system. 

The researchers plan to inject subjects 
with seven harmless antigens, chosen be- 

cause they will elicit a gradual response from 
the immune system. One group of subjects 
will be given the hypnotic suggestion lo de- 
press their immune response, another group, 
to enhance it. 

Later, the team will microscopically ex- 
amine the areas where the subjects' skin was 
pricked, and they wilf'count cells, look inside 
white blood cells, and measure changes. It 
will be the first time the influence of hypnosis 
will have been tested with such advanced 
immunological techniques. If any difference 
is detected belween the two groups it will 
make a convincing case for a link between 
the mind and the body. 

The difficulty in doing this kind of re- 
search, Frankel says, is determining whether 
any changes observed are the result of hyp- 
nosis or simply the ambience of the hypnotic 
setting. "You sit down with someone and 
you're nice to him. You speak to him in quiet, 
soothing tones," he says.'You tell him to close 
his eyes — to relax and imagine he is drifting 
off into another world. 

"Sometimes just relaxing that- way makes 
him feel better. Some people call that a pla- 
cebo. Bui whatever it is — expectation, re- 
laxation — these are very important, cura- 
tive, therapeutic elements." 

And there is the problem of hypnotizabil- 
ity. Hall found that the more susceptible to 
hypnotism a person is, the more dramatic 
was the immune response he could elicit. 
And not everyone is equally hypnotizable. 
Roughly one tenth of the population cannot 
be hypnotized at all. A third can achieve a 
drowsy- light state of hypnosis, another third, 
a medium state. And the rest are capable of 
going into a deep trance, in which we can 
respond to posthypnotic suggestion, am- 
nesia, or age regression. 

Does this mean only highly hypnotizable 
individuals can be helped? "I'm still strug- 
gling with that question," Hall admits. Al- 
though he has not figured out how, he is 
convinced that everyone can learn how to 
exert some control over his or her body. 

"I believe we can do things with people 
who are not high hypnotics," he adds. He 
believes that what is really at work is a more 
general force that he calls the psychology of 
healing, and that hypnosis is just one means 
of tapping into it. This concept is where Hall's 
main interest lies. "You know," he points out, 
"the psychology of healing kept the human 
race alive long before the advenf of modern 
medicine. Centuries ago, people took all 
kinds of stuff — crocodile dung, tooth of 
swine — that we now know to be pharma- 
cologically inactive. But they believed in it, 
and they got better." 

Although clinical experience indicates that 
hypnosis can help the mind perform re- 
markable feats — even influence the im- 
mune system — there is as yet no absolute 
scientific proof, says Frankel. "But that 
doesn't mean that we should stop using it. I 
would be the last person to want to throw it 
out. I've seen patients recover memory, 
overcome fears, get tremendous relief from 
suffering. It's produced some very dramatic 
things; and it is not magic. "DO 


I didn't want to ! i -irk aoou: what the employ- 
ees used to stimulate them. 

They unhooked the first trailer, and I ■ 
backed in the second. I got down out .of the 
cab, and an employee came up to me, a big 
fellow with red eyes and brand-new cover- 
alls. "Good ones this load?" he asked. His 
brealh was like the end of a cabbage, bean, 
and garlic dinner. 

I shook my head and held a cigarette out 
lor a light. He pressed his tingernail against 
the tip. The tip flared and settled down to a 
steady glow. He looked at it with pure want- 
ing in his eyes. 

"Listen," I said. "You had anyone named 
Sherill through here?" I spelled it for him. 

"Who's asking?" He oa.rnbled. still eyeing 
the cigarette. He started to walk away. 

'Uust curious. I heard you guys knew all 
the names." 

"So?" He stopped. He had to walk around, 
otherwise his shoes melted the asphalt a bit 
and got stuck. He came back and stood, 
lifting one toot, twisting a bit, then putting it 
down and lifting the other. 

"Couple of Cheryls. No Sherills," he said. 
"Now — " 

I handed him the cigarette. They loved the 
things.. "Thanks," I said. He popped it into 
his mouth and chewed, bliss pushing over 
his seamed face. Tobacco smoke came out. 
of his nose, and he swallowed. "Nothing to 
it," he said, and walked on. 

1 took the empties back to Baker. Didn't 
see Bill. Eight hours later I was in bed, beer 
in hand, paycheck on the bureau, my eyes 
wide open. 

Shit. My conscience was working. I'd 
thought I was past that. But then I didn't use 
the perks, and I wouldn't drive without insur- 
ance. I wasn't really cut out for the life. 

The next trip, it was cool dusk, and the 
road crossed a bleak flatland of skeletal 
trees, all the same uniform gray as if cut from 
paper. When I pulled over to catch a nap — 
never sleeping more than two hours at a 
stretch — the shouts of the damned in the 
trailers bothered me even more than usual. 
They said silly things like: 

"You can take us back, Mister! You really 

"Can he?" 

"Shit no, mo 'fuck pig." 

"You can let us out! We can't hurl you!" 

That was true enough. Drivers were alive, 
and the dead could never hurt those alive. 
But I'd heard what happened when you let 
them out. There were about ninety of them 
in back, and in any load there was always 
one who'd make you want to use your perks. 

I scratched my itches in the narrow bunk, 
looking at the Sierra Club calendar hanging 
just below the fan. The Devil's Postpile. The 
load became quieter as the voices gave up, 
one after the other. There was one last 
shout — some obscenity — then silence. 

It was then 1 decided to let them out and 

see if Sherill was there or il anyone knew her. 
They mingled in the Annex, got their last so- 
cialising before the City. Someone might 
know. Then if I saw Bill again — 

What? What could I do to help him? He 
had screwed Sherill up royally, but then she'd 
had a hand in it too, and that was what Hell 
was all about. Poor stupid sons of bitches. 

I swung out of the cab, tucking in my shirt 
and pulling my s:raw hat do-.vn on my crown. 
"Hey!" I said, walking alongside the trailers. 
Faces peered at me from Ihe two inches be- 
tween each white slat. 

"I'm going to let you out. Just for a while. I 
need some information." 

"Ask!" someone screamed. 'Uust ask. 

"You know you can't run away, can't hurt 
me, you're.all dead. Understand?" 

"We know," said another voice, .quieter. 

"Maybe we can help." 

"I'm going to open the gates one trailer at 
a time." I went to the rear trailer first, took out 
my keys, and undid the Yale padlock. Then 

4/Wore people were 

coming, and I was getting 

nervous, i stood my 

ground, trying to seem cairn, 

and the dead 
gathered around me, looking 

at each other and 
then at me, looking eager* 

I swung the gates open, standing back a 
little like there was some kind of infected 
wound about to drain.' 

They were all naked. Butthey weren't dirty 
or unhealthy. Dead, they couldn't be. But all 
had some sort of air about them indicating 
what brought them to Hell; not anything spe- 
cific, but subliminal. 

Like, the three black dudes in the rear 
trailer, first to step out. Why they were going 
to Hell was all over their faces. 

"Stupid ass mo'fuck," one of them said, 
staring at me beneath thin, expressive eye- 
brows. He nodded and swung his fists, trying 
to pound the slats from the outside, but the 
blows hardly made them vibrate. 

An old woman crawled down, hair white 
and neatly coiffed. I couldn't be certain what 
she had done, but she made me uneasy. 
Then the others, young, old, mostly old. Quiet. 
They looked me over, some defiant, most 
usl bewildered. 

"I need to know if there's anyone here 
named'Sherill," I said, "who happens to know 
a fellow named Bill." 

'That's my name," said a woman hidden 
in the crowd. 

j'Let me see her" I waved my hand at them. 

The black dudes came forward. A funny look 
got in their eyes, and they backed away. The 
others parted, and a young woman walked 
out. "Howdoyoi, spoil your name?" I asked. 

She got a panicked expression. She 
spelled it. hesitating, looking to see if she 
was connecting, making the grade. I felt hor- 
rible already. She wss a Cheryl. 

"Not who I'm looking for," I said. 

"Maybe no! spocrica.ly." sne said, real soft. 
She was very pretty, with medium-size 
breasts, hips like a teenager's, legs not ter- 
rific but nice. Her black hair was clipped 
short, and her eyes were almost Oriental. 

"You can walk around a bit," I told them. 
"I'm letting out the first trailer now." I opened 
the side gates on that one, and the people 
came down. They didn't smell of anything, 
didn't look hungry; they just all looked pale. 

"Woman named Sherill," I repeated. No 
one stepped forward. Then I felt someone 
close'to me, and 1 turned. It was the Cheryl 
woman, She smiled. "I'd like to sit up front 
for'a while," she said. 

"So would we all, sister," said the white- 
haired old woman. The black dudes stood 
off separate, talking low. 

I swallowed, looking at her. Other drivers 
said they were real unsubstantial except at 
one activity. That was the perk. And it was 
said the hottest ones always ended up in 

"No," I said. I motioned for them to get 
back into the trailers. 

It had been a dumb idea all around. They 
went back, and I returned to the cab, won- 
dering what had made me do it. I shook my 
head and started her up. Thinking on a dead 
run was no good. "No," I said, "goddamn," I 
said, "good." 

Cheryl's face stayed with me. 

Cheryl's body stayed with me longer than 
the face. 

There is always something that comes up 
on a life to lure a man onto the Low Road, 
not driving but riding in the back. We all have 
something. I wondered what reason God had 
to give each of us that little flaw, like a chip 
on a crystal soul. You press the chip hard 
enough, everything splits up crazy. 

I returned hauling empties and found my- 
self this time outside a small town called 
Shoshone. 1 pulled my truck into the cafe 
parking lot. The weather was cold, and I left 
the engine running. It was about eleven in 
Ihe morning, and the cafe was half full. I look 
a seat at the counter next to an old man with 
maybe four teeth in his head attacking 
French toast with downright solemn dignity. 
I ordered eggs and hash browns and juice, 
ate quickly, 'and went back to my truck. 

Bill stood next to the cab. Next to him was 
an enormous young woman with a face like 
a bulldog. She was wrapped in a filthy piece 
of plaid fabric, looking like it had been 
snatched from a trash dump somewhere. 
"Hey," Bill said. "Remember me?" 


"I saw you pulling up. Wanted you to meet 
Sherill. 1 got her out of there." The woman 
stared at me with all the expression of a brick. 
"It's all screwy back there. Like a power fail- 

ureor something. We lsi weJkod out on the 
road, and nobody stopped us." 

Sherill could have had any number of 
weirdnesses beneath her formidable looks 
and gone unnoticed by ordinary folks, but I 
didn't have any irouble picking out the big- 
gest thing wrong with her. She was dead, i 
looked around to make sure that I was in the 
World, and I was, and he wasn't lying. Clearly 
something serious was happening on the 
Low Road. 

"Trouble?" I asked. 

"Lots of escapes." He grinned at me. "Pan- 

■ "That can't happen," I said, knowing I was 
wrong. Sherill was trembling now, hearing 
my voice. 

"He's a driver, Bill," she said. "He's one 
takes us there. We got to git out of here." She 
had that soul-branded air and the look o! a 
pig that's Just escaped the slaughter seeing 
the butcher again. She took a few steps 
backward. Gluttony, I Ihought. Gluttony and 
buried lust and a real ugly way of seeing liie, 
inner eye pulled all out of shape by her bulk. 

"Tell me more." I said. 

"There's these folks running all over down 
there, holing up in them towns, devils chas- 
ing them — " 

"Employees," I corrected:. 

"Yeah, every which way." 

Sherill tugged insistently on his arm. "We 
got to go. Bill." 

"We got to go," he echoed. "Hey, man. 

thanks. I found her!" He pointed at Sherill 
and nodded his whole-body nod, and they 
werq ofi down the street, Sherill's plaid wrap 
dragging in the dirt. ' 

I drove back to Baker, parked in front of 
my little house, and sat inside with a beer 
while it got dark, checking my calendar for 
next day's run and feeling very cold. Next 
day 1 was scheduled to pick up another load 
at the Annex. Nobody called. If there was 
trouble, surely the union would let me know. 

I showed up at the Annex early morning. 
The crossover from World lo work was as 
usual; I followed the route, and the sky mud- 
died from blue to solder color, and I was on 
the first leg of the road that leads to the An- 
nex. I backed the rear trailer up. to the yard's 
gate and unhitched it, then placed the for- 
ward trailer at a ramp, all the while keeping 
my ears tuned to pick up interesting conver- 
sation. The employees who work the Annex 
look quite human. I took my bill of lading from 
a red-faced, billiard-ball-eyed old guy. He 
spit smoking saliva on the pavement, re- 
turned my QL.e'y'irc, look s aniwise, and said 
nothing. Maybe it was all settled. I hitched 
L.p both full trailers and pulled out. 

It was the desert again this time, only now 
the towns and tumbledown houses looked 
bomb-blasted, like something big had come. 
through, flushing out game with a howitzer. 

No nevermind. Keep your eyes on the. 
. road. Push that rig. 

Four hours in I came to a roadblock. No- 

body on it, no employees, just big carved- 
lava barricades cu:tng across all lanes and 
beyond them a wall of yellow smoke, which, 
the driver's unwritten instructions advised, 
meant absolutely no entry. 

I got out. The load was making noises. I 
suddenly hated them, Least they could do 
wasgowithdignityand spare, me their mis- 
ery. I stood by the truck, waiting for instruc- 
tions or some indication of what I was sup- 
posed to do, The load go! quieter after a 
while, but I heard noises off the road, 
screams mostly-and far away. 

"There isn't anything," I said to myself, 
lighting up one of Bill's cigarettes even 
though I don't smoke and dragging deep, 
"anything worth this shit." Not job or dignity 
or anything. I vowed I'd quit after this run. 

I heard something come up behind the 
trailers, and I edged closer to the cab steps. 
High wisps of smoke obscured things at first, 
but a dark shape four or five yards high 
plunged through and stood with one hand 
on the top slats of the rear trailer. 

It made little grunting noises. It was cov- 
ered with naked people, crawling all over, 
biting and scratching and shouting obscen- 
ities. It fell to its knees, then stood again and 
lurched off the road. 

I'd never seen an employee so big before, 
or in so much trouble. The load began to wail 
like banshees. I threw down my cigarette and 
ran -after it. 

Workers will tell you. Camaraderie ex- 

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"Say what you like, 1 remain a 

reationist. " 

tends even to these or the ;ob you don'l like. 
If they're in trouble, it's part of the mystique 
to help out. Besides, the unwritten instruc- 
tions were very clear on such things, and 
I've never knowingly busted a job rule — not 
since getting my rig back — and couldn't see 
starting now. 

Through the smoke and across great 
ridges of lava, I ran until I spotted the' em- 
ployee about ten yards ahead. It had shaken 
off the naked oeople and ■■.va.~ standing with 
one in each hand, lis shoulders smoked, and 
scales stood out at all angles. They'd really 
done a job on the bastard. Ten or twelve of 
(he dead were picking tnemselves off the 
lava, unscraped, unbruised. They saw rne. 

The employee saw me. 

Everyone came at me, grabbing. I turned 
and ran for the truck, stumbling over out- 
stretched arms and legs. My hair stood on 
end. People pleaded for me to haul them 
out, whining like whipped dogs. 

Then the employee got hold of me and 
swung me up high out of reach. Its hand 
was cold and hard like iron tongs kept in an 
ice-cream freezer. It grunted and ran toward 
my truck, opening the door wide and throw- 
ing me roughly inside. It made clear with wild 
gestures thai I'd better turn around- and go 
back, that there was no way through. 

I started the engine and turned the rig 
around, I rolled up my window and hoped 
the dead weren't substantial enough to 
scratch paint or tear up slats. ■ 

All rules were off now. 

I headed back down the road. 

My load screamed like no load I'd ever 
had before. I was afraid they might get loose, 
but they didn't. I got near the Annex, and 
they were quiet again, too quiet for me to 
hear over the diesel. 

The yards were deserted. The long, white- 
painted cement platforms and whitewashed 
wood-slat loading ramps were unattended. 
No souls' in the pens. The sky was an indef- 
inite gray, and an out-of-focus yellow sun 
gleamed faintly cf" the wh;e walls of the em- 
ployees' lounge. I stopped the truck and 
swung down to investigate. 

There was no wind, only silence. The air 
was Irosty without being particularly cold. 
What I wanted to do most was unload and 
get out of there, go back to Baker or Barstow 
or Shoshone. 

I hoped that was still possible. Maybe all 
exits had been closed. Maybe the overseers 
closed them to keep any more souls from 
getting out. 

I tried the gate latches and found I could 
open them. I did so and returned. to the truck, 
swinging the rear trailer around until it was 
flush with the ramp. Nobody made a sound. 
"Go on back," I said. "Go on back. You'ye 
got more time here. Don't ask me how." 

"Hello. John." Thai was behind me. I turned 
and saw an older man without any clothes 
on. I didn't recognize him at first. His eyes 
finally clued me in. 

"Mr. Martin?" My high-school history 
teacher. I hadn't seen him in maybe twenty 

years. And I'd never seen him naked. 

"This is not the sort of job I'd expect one 
of my students to take," Martin said. He 
laughed the smooth laugh he was famous 
for, the laugh that seemed to take every- 
thing he said in class and put it in perspec- 
tive. "The cat's away, John. The mice are in 
charge now. I'm leaving, if I can." 

"How long you been here?" I asked. 

"I died a month ago, I think." 

"You can't go," I said. The ice creeped up 
my throat. 

"Team player," Martin said. "Still the 
screwball team player, even when the team 
doesn't give a damn what you do." 

1 wanted to explain, but he walked away 
toward the Annex and the road out. Looking 
back over his shoulder, he said, "Get smart, 
John. Things aren't what they seem," I last 
saw him shaking his head as he rounded the 
corner of the Annex. 

The dead in my load had pried loose some 
of the ramp slats and were jumping off the 
rear trailer. Those in the forward trailer were 
screaming and carrying on, shaking the 
whole rig. 

Responsibility, shit, I thought. As the dead 
followed after Mr. Martin I unhitched both 
trailers. Then I got in the cab and swung 
around away from the Annex onto the in- 
coming road. "Sure as anything," 1 said, "I'm 
going to quit." 

The road out seemed awfully long. I was 
taking a route that I'd never been on before, 
and I. had no way of knowing if it would put 
me where I wanted to be. But I hung in there 
for two hours, running the truck dead-out on 
the flats. 

The air was getting grayer, like somebody 
turning down the contrast on a TV set. I 
switched on the high beams, buf they didn't 
help. By now I was shaking in the cab and 
saying to myself, nobody deservesthis. No- 
body deserves going to Hell no matter what 
they did. I was scared. It was getting colder. 

Three hours, and I saw the Annex and 
yards ahead of me again. The road had 
looped back. I swore and slowed the rig to 
a crawl. The loading docks had been set on 
fire. Dead were wandering around with no 
idea what to do or where to go. I sped up 
and drove over through the few that were on 
the road. They'd come up, and the truck's 
bumper would hit them and I wouldn't feel a 
thing, like they weren't there. I'd see them in 
the rearview mirror, getting up after being 
knocked over. Just knocked over Then I was 
away from the loading docks, and there was 
no doubt about it this time. 
I was heading straight for Hell. 

The disembarkation terminal was on fire, 
too. But beyond it the City was bright and 
white and untouched. For the first time I drove 
past the terminal and took the road into the 
City. It was either that or stay on the flats with 
everything screwy. Inside, I thought, maybe 
they'd have things under control. 

The truck roared through the gate be- 
tween two white pillars maybe seventy or 
eighty feet thick and as tall as the Washing- 
ton Monument. I didn't see anybody, em- 
ployees or dead. Once I was through the 

120 OMNI 

pillars, and il came as a shock — 

There was no City, no walls, just the road 
winding along and countryside in all direc- 
tions, even behind. 

The countryside was covered with shacks, 
houses, little clusters and big clusters. 
Everything was tightly packed, people 
working together on one hill, people sitting 
on their porches, walking along paths, turn- 
ing to stare at me as the rig barreled on 
through. No employees — no monstrosities 
of any sort. No flames. No bloody lakes or 

This must be the outside part, I thought. 
Deeper inside it would get worse. 

Another hour of driving through that calm 
landscape, and the truck ran out of fuel. I 
coasted to the side and stepped down from 
the cab, very nervous. 

I lit up my last cigarette and leaned against 
the fender, shaking a little. But the shaking 
was running down, and a tight kind of calm 
was replacing it. 

The landscape was still condensed, 
crowded, but nobody looked tortured. No 
screaming, no eternal agony. Trees and 
shrubs and grass hills and thousands and 
thousands ot little houses. 

It took about ten minutes for the inhabit- 
ants to get around to investigating me. Two 
men came strolling over to my truck and 
nodded cordially. Both of them were middle- 
aged and healthy looking, just like they were ■ 
alive. 1 nodded back. 

"We were betting whether you're one of 
the drivers or not," the first, a black-haired 
fellow, said. He wore a simple handwoven 
shirt and pants. "That so?" 
"I am." 

"You're lost then." 

I agreed. "Maybe you can tell me just 
where I am?" 

"Hell," said the second man, younger by 
a few years and just wearing shorts. The way 
he said it was like you might say you came 
Irom Los Angeles or Long Beach. Nothing 
big, nothing dramatic. 

"We've heard rumors there's been prob- 
lems outside," a woman said, coming up to 
join us. She was about sixty and skinny. She 
looked like she should be twitchy and ner- 
vous but she acted rock-steady. They were 
all rock-steady. 

"There's some kind of strike," I said. "I don't 
know what it is, but I'm looking for an em- 
ployee to tell me," 

"They don't usually come this far in," the 
first man said. "We run things here. Or rather, 
nobody tells us what to do." 

"You're. alive?" the woman asked, a curi- 
ous hunger in her voice. Others were com- 
ing around to join us, a whole crowd. They 
didn't try to touch. They stood their ground 
and stared and talked. 

"I can't take you back," I said. "I don't know 
how to get there myself." 

"We can't go back," the woman said. 
"That's not our place. Maybe you could just 
listen to us, youknow?" 

More people were coming, and I was get- 
ting nervous again. I stood my ground, trying 
to seem calm, and the dead gathered around 

122 OMNI 

me, looking at one another and then at me, 
looking eager. 

"I never thought of. anybody but myself," 
one said. Another interrupted with, "Man, I 
fucked my whole life away,. I hated every- 
body and everything. I was burned out — " 

"I thought I was the greatest. I could pass 
judgment on everybody — " 

"I was the stupidest goddamn woman you 
ever saw. I was a sow, a pig. I farrowed kids 
and let them run wild, without no guidance. 
I was stupid and cruel, too. I used to hurt 

"Never cared for anyone. Nobody ever 
cared for me. I was left to rot in the middle 
of a city, and I wasn't good enough not to 

"Everything I did was a lie after I was about 
twelve years old — " 

"Listen to me, Mister, because it hurts, it 
hurts so bad — " 

I backed up against my fruck. They were 
lining up now, getting organized, not like any 
mob. I had a crazy thought they were be- 

4f/iey were all 
naked, but they weren't 

dirty. Each had 

some sort of air about 

them indicating 

what had brought them to 

Hell; not anything 
specific, but subliminal.^ 

having better than any people on Earth, but 
these were the damned. 

An ex-cop told me what he did to people 
in jails. An ex-Jesus freak told me that 
knowing Jesus in your heart wasn't enough. 
"Because I should have made it, man, I 
should have made it." 

'A time came and I was just broken by it 
all, broke myself really. Just kepi stepping 
on myself and making all the wrong deci- 
sions — " 

They confessed to me, and I began to cry. 
Their faces'-were so clear and so pure, yet 
here they were, confessing, and except 
maybe for specific things — like the fellow 
who had killed Ukrainians after the Second 
World War in Russian camps— they didn't 
sound any worse than the crazy sons of 
bitches I called friends who spenf their lives 
in trucks or bars or whorehouses. 

They were all recent. I got the impression 
the deeper into Hell you went, the older the 
damned became, which made sense; Hell 
just got bigger, each crop of the damned got 
bigger, with more room on the outer circles. 

"We wasted it," someone said. "Youknow 
what my greatest sinwas? I was dull. Dull 
and cruel. I never saw beauty. I saw only 

dirt. I loved the din. find ii k; doan just passed 
me by." 

Pretty soon my tears were uncontrollable. 
I kneeled down beside the truck, hiding my 
head, but they kept coming by and confess- 
ing. Hundreds must have passed, orderly, 
talking quietly, gesturing with their hands. 

Then they stopped. Someone had told 
them to back away, that they were too much 
for me. I took my face out of my hands, and 
a young-seeming 'allow stooa looking down 
or me. "You all right?" ne asked 

I nodded, but'my insides were like broken 
glass. With every confession I had seen my- 
self, and with every tale of sin I had felt an 
answering echo. 

"Someone's going to be taking me here 
soon," I mumbled. The young fellow helped 
me up to my feet, and he cleared a way 
around my truck. 

"Yeah, but not yet," he said. "You don't be- 
long here yet." He opened the door to my 
cab, and I got back inside 
"I don't have any fuel," I said. 
He smiled that sad smile they all had and 
stood on the step, up close to my ear. "One 
of the employees is bound to get around to 
you after they take care of the. distur- 
bances," He seemed a lot more sophisti- 
cated fhan the others. I looked at him maybe 
a little queerly, like there was some explain- 
ing in order. 

"Yeah, I know all that stuff," he said. "I was 
a driver once. Then I got promoted. What 
are they all doing back there?" He gestured 
up the road. "They're really messing things 
up now, aren't they?" 

"I don't know," I said, wiping my eyes and 
cheeks with my sleeve. 

"You go back, and you tell them all that 
this revolt on the outer circles, it's what l ex- 
pected. Tell them Charlie's here and "that I 
warned them. Word's getting around." 

'About who's in charge. Just tell them 
Charlie knows and I warned them." 

I closed my eyes. Some shadow passed 
over. The young fellow and everybody else 
seemed to recede. I felt rather than saw my 
truck being picked up like a toy. 

In the cab in the parking lot of a truck stop 
in Bakersfield, I jerked awake, pulled my cap 
away from my eyes, and looked around. It 
was about noon. There was a union hall in 
Bakersfield. I checked, and my truck was 
full of diesel, so l started her up and drove 
to the union hall. 

I knocked on the door of the office. I went 
in and recognized the old dude who had 
given me the job in the firs! place. I was tired, 
and I smelled bad,, but I wanted to get it all 
done with now. 

He recognized me but didn't know my 
name until I told him. "I can't work the run 
anymore," l said. "I'm not the one for it. I don't 
feel right driving them when I know I'm go- 
ing to be there myself, like as not." 

"Okay," he said, slow and careful, sizing 
me up with a knowing eye. "But you're out. 
You're busted then. No more driving, no more 
work for us, no more work for any union we 
support. It'll be lonely." 

"I'll take thai k : m. i of tjnely any day," 1 said. 

"Okay." That seemed to be that. I headed 
for the door and stopped with my hand on 
the knob, 

"One more thing," I said. "Why there's so 
much trouble in the outer circles. I met Char- 
lie. He says to tell you word's getting around 
about who's in charge, and that's why," 

The old dude's knowing eye went sort of 
glassy. "You're the fellow ended up inside?" 

I nodded. 

"You wait a minute. Out in the office." 

I waited and heard him talking on the 
phone. He came out and was smiling and 
put his hand on my shoulder. 

"Listen, John, I'm not sure we should let 
you quit so easy. Word is, you stuck around 
and tried to helpwhen 
everybody else ran. 
The company appre- 
ciates that. You've 
been with us a long 
time, reliable driver, 
maybe we should ar- 
gue with you a bit, 
know what I mean? 
Give you some incen- 
tive to stay. I'm send- 
ing you to Denver to 
talk with a fellow, an 
important fellow." 

The way he said it, I 
intuited there wasn't 
too much choice and 
I'd better not fight it. 
You work union long 
enough and you know 
when to keep your 
mouth shut and go 
along with them. 

They put me up in a 
motel and fed me, and 
by late morning I was 
on my way to Denver. 
. I was in a black union 
car with a silent driver 
and air conditioning 
and some News- 
weeks to keep me 

Saturday morning, 
bright and- early, I 
stood in front of a very 
large corporate build- 
ing with no sign out 
front and with a bank on the bottom lloor. I 
went past the bank and up io the very top. 

A secretary met me, pretty but with her 
hair done up very tight and her jaw grimly 
square. She didn't like me. By her looks she'd 
be friendly only to insurance salesmen and 
visiting preachers. She let me into the next 
office, though. 

I'd seen the fellow before, 1 wasn't sure 
where. He wore a narrow tie and. a tasteful 
but conservative, small-checked suit. "His- 
shirt was pastel blue, and there was a big 
Rembrandt Bible on his desk, sitting on ihe 
glass next to an alabaster penholder. He 
shook my hand firmly and perched on .the 
edge of the desk. 

"First, let me congratulate you on your 

bravery. We've had some reports from the 
. . . uh . . . field, and we're hearing nothing 
but'good about you." He smiled like that fel- 
low on TV who's always ask'ny Ihe audience 
to give him some help. Then his face got 
sincere and serious. I honestly believe he 
was sincere; he was also very well trained 
in dealing with nol-very-bright people. 

"I hear you have a report for me. From 
Charles Frick." 

"He said his name was Charlie." I told him 
the story. "What I'm curious about, whaf did 
he mean, this thing about who's in charge?" 

"Charlie was in organization until last year. 
He died- in a car accident, I'm shocked to 
hear he got the Low Road." 

He didn't look shocked. "To tell the truth. 


Englishmen live 
imperturbably with 
their relentlessly wet 
weather. But they also 
invented the trench 
coat and the rolled 

umbrella. And gel along just swimmingly. 
Unflappable Englishmen still dress for 

dinner in climates so sweltering that the 

idea seems self-punishing. But by 

savoring a tall, iced Beefeater 8 and 

tonic, they manage to keep their cool. 
The English, you see, believe in 

keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of 

adversity. But they're equally good at 

keeping adversity to a manageable 

level. Which probably explains why they 

invented the trench coat, the rolled 

umbrella, and the Beefeater Gin and 



The Crown Jewel of England!" 

he was a bit of a troublemaker here. Maybe 
I'm shocked but not surprised." 

He smiled bngh-iy again, and his eyes got 
large, and there was a little too much ani- 
mation in his face. He had on these Mac- 
Arthur wire-rimmed glasses too big for his 

"What did he mean?" 

'John, I'm proud of all our drivers. You don't 
know how proud we all are of you folks down 
there who are stuck doing the dirty work. 
Hauling in sinners." 

"What did Charlie mean?" 

"The abortionists arc Demographers, the 
hustlers and muggers and murderers. Athe- 
ists and heathens and idol worshippers. 
Surely there must be some satisfaction in 

keeping the land clean. Sort of a giant san- 
itation squad, you people keep the scum 
away from the good folks, the good and 

obedient workers. Now we know that driv- 
ing's maybe the hardest job we have in the 
company and Hat not everyone can stay on 
the Low Road indefinitely. Still, we'd like you 
to stay on. Not as a driver — unless you really 
wish to continue, for the satisfaction of a 
tough job. No, if you want to move up — and 
you've earned it by now, surely — we have a 
place for you here. A place where you'll be 
comfortable and—" 

"I've already said I want out. You're acting 
like I'm hot stuff, and I'm just shit. You know 
that, I know that. Down there they all started 
Confessing to me like they was Ancient Mar- 

■ 1 iners or something. 

What is going on?" 

His face hardened 
on me. 

"It isn't so easy up 
here either, buster." 
The "buster" bit got 
me. I pushed up from 
the chair. When I 
stood, he held up his 
hand conciliatory-like 
and pursed his lips as 
he nodded. 

"Sorry. There's incen- 
tive, there's certainly 
a reason why you 
, should want to work 
: here. If you're so con- 
1 vinced you're on your 
! way to the Low Road, 
you can work it off, 
I you know." 

"How can you say 
1 that?" 

! Bright smile. "Char- 

lie told you something 
■ about who's in charge 
| here." 

] Now it was getting 

: dangerous. I could 
| smell it, like with the 
union boss. 

"He said that's why 
there's trouble." 

"It comes every now 
and then. We put it 
down gentle. I tell you 

' we really need good 

people, compassionate people. People who 
listen to even the damned. We need them io 
nelp with the choosing." 

"Surely you don't think the Boss does all 
the choosing directly?" 
I couldn't think of a thing to say. 
"Listen, the Boss — let me tell you. A long 
time ago, the Boss decided to create a new 
kind of worker, with more decision-making 
abilities. You and me and all the rest of man- 
kind." Smile. Fable time, kiddies. "Some of 
the supervisors disagreed especially when 
the Boss said we'd be around for a long, long 
time. We'd have immortal souls. When the 
Boss got his program going strong, giving 
us the freedom to choose between good and 

evil, it was inevitable that a few would choose 
evil. You could think' ot it as waste — nuclear 
waste. There are benefits to the program- 
good people, hard workers. And there's gar- 
bage, too; poison, toxic garbage. The gar- 
bage builds up after a time — those who don't 
wan! to go along, not good workers; you 
might say. 

"A few turn out lo be . . . chronically un- 
employable. Can't find it in themselves to go 
along with the program. Gei out of line. What 
do you do with them? Can'i dispose of them 
■by just making them go away; the rule is, 
they're immortal. Poison, but they last for- 
ever. So — " 

"Chronically unemployable''" He was 
being mighty -clever. And what do you do 
' with nuclear waste? You shit-can it Put it in 
the biggest, deepest shit can. . . . 

"The damned. You're a union man. Think 
of what it must feel like to be out of work , . . 
forever. The Boss's work is very important 
there's no denying that. He's got big plans 
for us all, and ii the Boss can't use you, then 
nobody can." 

I knew the feeling, both the way he meant 
it and the reality behind the comparison. 
What do you do with the chronically unem- 
ployable? You put them on welfare . . . for- 
ever. So what was Hell, shit can or welfare 
dump? I go! the impression this fellow con- 
sidered it a shit can. 

But a good union man knows there isn't 
anybody who can't do some sort of work, 
can't be persuaded to be useful some way. 

Only management thrKS of shil-canning or 
welfaring. Only management thinks in terms 
of human waste. 

"The Boss feels the project half suc- 
ceeded, so He doesn't want to dump it com- 
pletely. But He doesn't want to be bothered 
with all the pluses and minuses, the book- 

"You're in charge," I said, my blood cool- 
ing quickly. 

And I knew where I had seen him before. 

On television. 

God's right-hand man. 

And human. Flesh and blood. 

We ran Hell. 

He nodded, "Now, that's not the sort of 
thing we'd like to get around." 

"You're in charge, and you let the drivers 
take their perks on the loads, you let — " 

I stopped, instinct telling me that if I didn't, 
I would soon be on a rugged trail with no 

"I'll tell you the truth, John, 1 have only been 
in charge here for a year, and my predeces- 
sor let things gei out of hand. He wasn't a 
religious man, John, and he thought this was 
a job like any other, where you could com- 
promise now and then. I know that isn't so. 
There's no compromise here, and we'll 
straighten those inequities and bad deci- 
sions out very soon. You'll help us, I hope. 
You may know more about the problems than 
■we do." 

"How do you qualify for a job like this?" I 
asked. 'And who offered it to you?" 

t. $*r&4*r(vr~~) 

"Not the Boss. ; f that's wl iai you're getting 
at, John, It's been kind of traditional. You may 
have heard about me. I'm the one, when there 
was all this talk about after-death experi- 
ences, and everyone was seeing bright light 
and beauty, I'm the one who wondered why 
no one was seeing .the other side. I found 
people who had almost died and had seen 
Hell, and I turned their lives around. The 
management in the company decided a fel- 
low with my ability could do good work here. 
And so I'm here. And I'll tell you, it wasn't 
easy. I sometimes wish we had a little more 
help from the Boss, a little more guidance, 
but we don't, and somebody has to do it." 
Again the smile. 

I put on my mask, 

"Of course," I said. I hoped that a gradual 
increase in piety would pass his sharp-eyed 

'And you can see how this ail makes you 
much more valuable to the organization." 

I let light dawn slowly. 

"We'd hate to lose you now, John. Not when 
there's security, so much security, working 
for us. I mean, here we learn the real ins and 
outs oi salvation." 

I let him talk at me until he looked a! his 
watch, and all the time I nodded and consid- 
ered and tried to think of the best ploy. Then 
I eased myself into a turnabout. I did some 
confessing until his discomfort was stretched 
too far— 1 was keeping him from an impor- 
tant appointment — and made my conclud- 
ing statement. 

"I just wouldn't feel right up here," I said. 
"I've been a driver all my life. I'd just want to 
keep on, doing my bit wherever I'm best 

"Keep your present job?" he said, tapping 
his shoe on the side of the desk. 

"Lord, yes," I said, grateful as could be. 

Then I asked him for his autograph. He 
smiled real big and gave it to me, God's right- 
hand man, who had prayed with presidents. 

I'm on the road again. I'm talking to peo- 
ple here and there, being real cautious. 
Maybe I'll get caught. 

When it looks like things are getting 
chancy, I'll take my rig back down the road. 
Then I'm not sure what I'll do. 

I don't want to let everybody loose. But I 
want to know who else is ending up on the 
Low Road who shouldn't be. People unpop- 
ular with God's right-hand man. 

My message is simple. 

The crazy folks are running the asylum. 

Maybe I'll start hauling trucks back out in- 
stead of in, Christ was supposed to be the 
last person to do that, He went to Hell and 
rescued the righteous . , . harrowed Hell, 
that's what they had always called it in my 
Bible school classes, 

If I" don't make it, if they're too powerful 
and too sly, then I'll end up riding in back, 
not in front. 

But until then, I'm doing my bit. It's not as 
if I'm asking for help by telling you this. But 
you're a union man, aren't you? We could 
shut it down, you know. Truck drivers har- 
rowing Hell. Isn't that a thought?Dd 

The one-in-a-million l.Q. test 


By Scot Morris 

Mosi intelligence (or l.Q.) tests are designed 
so that average people get average 
scores, clustered around the midpoint l.Q. 
ol 100. The tests are most powerful at 
their middle ranges, where the difference 
between an l.Q. of 100 and 105 may be 
a matter of several questions on the test 
itself. But a! their upper ends, the tests 
don't seem' to discriminate nearly as well — 
the five-point difference between l.Q. 
scores of 145 and 150, say, may translate 
into raw-score differences ofonly one 
or two test questions. 

In recent years there has been an interest 
in devising tests that make fine distinctions 
in the intellectual stratosphere. The idea 
is to make a test so difficult that geniuses 
will get average scores, ^and only 
supergeniuses will be able to achieve the 
highest scores. 

The Omni l.Q. Quiz Contest, published 
this month by McGraw-Hill, is offering 
$10,000 in prizes for the highest scores on 
a test printed in the book. Prizes include 
a $5,000 cash grand prize, a one-week trip 
to Barbados for two, a Genesis telesystem 
from AT&T, an Atari 800XL home computer, 
and a Casio Data-Bank watch. 

Contest and book author Marilyn Mach 
vos Savant (who as a child scored a 230 
on a Stanford-Binet l.Q. test and is listed in 
the most recent edition of the Guinness 
Book of World Records under "Highest 
l.Q.") also writes about six high-I.Q. 
organizations that have been established 
in recent years. 

Mensa, the most famous group, is open 
to one person in 50 — that is, people in 
the upper 2 percent of the population (I.Q.'s 
above 133, or SAT or GRE scores above 
1250). The Triple Nine Society has a 1- 
in-1,0.00 cutoff (the 99.9th percentile, hence 
the name). And the Prometheus Society 
shoots for 1 in 30,000. But the most restric- 
tive group is the Mega Society, which is 1 
theoretically limited to one personin a . 
million (the 99.9999th percentile). Mega is 
recognized by Guinness as the world's 
most exclusive- l.Q. society. At present it has 
only 26 members. 

The founder of Mega and author of one 
of its admissions tests is Ronald Hoeflin, of 
New York. Knowing how Omni readers 

126 OMNI 

like l.Q. tests, Hoeflin split his original long- 
form test into two parts of 48 questions 
each. One part appears here, published 
for the first time anywhere; the other part 
appears in the Omni l.Q. -quiz book, 
complete with answers. 

Hoeflin estimates that the test printed 
here has a floor of 122 (which means that if 
you get no questions right, your l.Q. is 
somewhere below 122) and a ceiling of 184. 
The test's atmosphere is so rarefied that 
it has no validity whatsoever in testing 
people of "normal" intelligence. This test is 
"the. result of almost two years of collabora- 
tion between Hoeflin and Omni. At our 
request the test was administered to more 
than 150 people— all members of the 
major high-I.Q. societies, in order to show, 
for example, that Mega members score 
higher than members of Prometheus, who 
score higher than members of Triple Nine, 
and so on. 

Of the test's 48 questions: 8 correct 
corresponds to an l.Q. of 134. the cutoff for 
membership in Mensa; 22 right, an l.Q. 
of 150. qualifies one for membership in the 
Triple Nine Sociefy; 33 or above, corre- 
sponding to a 164 l.Q,, qualifies one for 
membership in the Prometheus Society; 42 
right, or an estimated l.Q. of 176. is the 
cutoff for joining the Mega Society. 

This test alone is suitable for admission 
to all of the above societies except Mensa. 


1. ANSWER SHEET. Print or type all of 
your answers on a single 8V2- by 11-inch 
sheet of paper. At the top, give your name, 
address, age, and sex. plus — optionally— 
scores from any previous l.Q. or aptitude 
tests you might have taken. 

. 2. TIME LIMIT. There is no enforceable 
time limit, but it is suggested that you 
limit yourself to no more than one month. 

3. ASSISTANCE. You are encouraged to 
use such reference aids as.dictionaries, 
thesauri, and pocket .calculators. A slide rule 
is discouraged since all numerical answers 
must be exact! Any assistance from other 
persons is prohibited. 

4. GUESSING. There is no penally for 
wrong answers or guesses, so it is to 

your advantage to guess whenever you are 
unsure of an answer. 

5. FEE. For a basic $5 scoring fee, you 
will receive a scoresheet listing the number 
of questions you answered correctly 
(broken down into raw scores within each 
of the- subtests), your corresponding I.O. 
score, and its estimated percentile in 

the general population. 

For an additional $5 ($10 total), you will 
receive a ien-page statistical report, "The 
Meaning ol Mega Test Scores," which 
shows how scores on the Mega test relate 
to scores on other recognized high-I.Q. 
■ tests, the procedures for applying for 
membership in other high-I.Q. societies, 
and their addresses. 

6. SCORESHEETS. Send to Omni-Mega 
Test, Box 7430, New York, NY 10116. Allow 
eight weeks for processing. 


For the first 24 problems, write the word 
or prefix that best completes each analogy. 
For example, in the analogy TASTE ; (is 
to) GUSTATORY ;: (as) SMELL : (is to) ?, the 
best answer would be OLFACTORY. In 
the analogy of HOT ; COLD :: PYRO- : ?. 
the answer would be CRYO-. 





5. 14 :. SEMI :;1 '/;::? 





11. WATER : AQUEOUS :: SNOW : ? 







20. 100: PERCENTILE:^:? 


TIVE : ? 

24 60:59::NEO-:? 


For each of Ihe next (wo problems, four 
of Ihe five figures have some basic, common 
feature lhat the fifth figure lacks. Indicate 
with the appropriate letter the figure that 
does no! belong with the rest. 

25. (A) (B) (C) (D) (E) 

27. What is the minimum number of 
square sheets of paper sufficient to repro- 
duce the pattern below if the sheets — 
unfolded, uncut, unmarked, and opaque — 
are placed flat on top of one another such 
that each line shown corresponds to the 
edge of some square insofar as it is not 
occluded by any overlapping square? 



could touch, including A and B. if the knight 
makes only permissible moves, does not 
touch any square more than once, and 
does nol go outside the 16 squares shown? 


' 30. Draw the fourth figure in this series: 

31. Several cervical cubes' afefused to 

form a. solid object. Given the following 
five views'of such an object, draw the sixlh. 

32, If 27 itierrical cubical chunks of 
cheese are piled together to form a cubical 
stack as depicted be lew. what Is the 
maximum number of these cheese chunks 
through which a mouse of negligible size 
could munch before exiting the stack, 
assuming that the mouse always travels 
along Ihe grid of 27 straight lines that pass 
through the centers of Ihe chunks parallel 
or perpendicular to their sides, always 
makes a 90° turn at the center of each chunk, 
and never enters any chunk more than 

them. If each group el :hree dots has a flat 
surface pass through it and extend an 
infinite distance in every direction, what is 
the maximum number of ti fferen; lines 
at which these surfaces may intersect one 

34.' Suppose that each side of a cube is 
painted a single uniform color — red, blue, 
or yellow— such thai any two sides painted 
red are chromatically indisihguishable, 
as are any iwo painted blue or any two 
painled yellow. When all six sides are 
visualized simultaneously, they constitute a 
color pattern for the cube. Two color 
patterns are mutually indistinguishable 
whenever one can be made to coincide with 
the other by suitable rigid rotations, For 
example, there is only one distinguishable 
color pattern consisting of one blue side 
and five yellow sides. How many distin- 
guishable color patterns can a cube have, 
counting all six sides n cacti pattern and 
assuming that .each side must be painted 
red, blue, or yellow? 

35. A cube of butler is sliced five times 
by a butter knife. Into how many pieces 
at most can the cube of butter thereby be 
divided if each knife srokc s perfectly 
straight (i.e., planar) and the pieces of butter 
are never rearranged? The figure below 
illustrates three slices, yielding eight pieces. 

28. If three mutually intersecting rectan- 
gles are drawn on a flat surface, what is 
the maximum number of bounded areas that 
can thereby be formed, considering only 
Ihe sides of the rectangles as bounds 

and counting only areas that are not furlher 
subdivided? -■ 

29. In going from square A to squareB 
in the figure below, what is the maximum 
number of squares that a chess knight 


33. Five dots are arranged in space so 
that no more than three at a time can 
have a single flat surface pass through 


36. What is ihe maximum number of 
completely bounded volumes that can be 
formed by three interpenetrating cubes, 
considering only the surfaces of the cubes 
as bounds and counting only volumes 
that are not further subdivided? 


37. A modified version of the dice game 

craps is played with two regular (i.e., 
perfectly symmetrical) dodecahedrons. 
Each die has its sides numbered from 1 to 
12 so that any sum from 2 to 24 would 



gifts of nature — the scalloped 

Michigan — are united by photographer 

lonplace coleus. with 

caught Morrill's 

Lincoln Park C. 

graphed the velveteen leaf one day and the 

lakefront. Later he brought the t..^ 

i further illustrate 
their contrasts. "I wanted to show \ 

photographer, who has a degree in zoology. 

is, which, by the way, is actually i 

va." To take the photographs, Morrill 

n was Ektachrome 64.DO 


cu"viir-;-;Er_'Ffio- -jagf ■,: 

be showing on ihe lop surfaces of the iwo 
dice after each throw. If a player gets the 
sum 13 or 23 on his first throw (a natural), he 
wins. If he gets the sum 2, 3, or 24 (craps), 
he loses. If he gets any other sum (his point), 
he must throw both dice again. On this or 
any subsequent throw, the player loses if he 
gets the sum 13 and wins if he gets his point 
but must throw both dice again if any other 
sum appears. The player continues until he 
either wins or loses. To the nearest percent, 
what is the probability at the start of any 
■ game that the dice thrower will win? 

38. Illustrated below is a simple scale for 
weighing objects. The scale consists of a 
lever resting on a fulcrum with weighing pans 
at each end of the lever equidistant from the 
fulcrum. Suppose that the objects to be 
weighed may range in weight from 1 pound 
to 100 pounds at one-pound intervals: 1. 2, 

3 98, 99, 100. After placing one such 

object on either of the two weighing pans, 
one or more precalibrated weights is then 
placed in either or both pans until a balance 
is achieved, thus determining the weight of 
the object. If the relative positions of the le- 
ver, fulcrum, and pans may not be changed 
and if one may not add to the initial set of 
precalibrated weights, what is the minimum 
number of such precalibrated weights that 
would be sufficient to bring into balance any 
of these objects? 

one cubic meter and a weight of two long 
tons. A group of terrorists render the lock 
inoperable and attach a time bomb to the 
side of Ihe barge set to go off in three hours. 
The barge contains elevators tor moving 
barrels quickly to the deck, but the crew is 
too shorthanded to roll the heavy barrels up 
an inclined plane in the time allotted. The 
deck is only ten centimeters below the top 
edge of the lock, from which the barrels could 
be rolled to dry land. If no water is entering 
or leaving the lock, how many barrels, at a 
minimum, would need to be rolled into the 
water in the lock in order to raise the level of 
the barge so thai its deck would be even 
with or slightly above the top edge of the 
lock so that Ihe remaining barrels could be 
rolled to dry land? 

42. As one can see from the diagram be- 
low, the sum of the infinite series 

Vs + 'A + Vb + Vie + . . . 
is 1. What is the sum of Ihe infinite series 
i/ 3 + 14 + Va + ( /bi + .--? 



39. A crystal cons.siso: "OO.OOO.OOOlay- 
ers of atoms such that there is 1 atom in the 
first layer. 3 in the second, 6 in the third, 10 
in Ihe fourth, 15 in the fifth, and so forth, as 
illustrated below. Exactly how many atoms 
are there in the entire crystal? 

For each of the following number series, what 
number should come next? For example, in 
the series 1 4 9 16 25 36 ? the best answer 
would be 49. 

' 43. 15 52 99 144 175 180147? 

44. 3 23 229 2869 43531 ? 

45. 0588235294? 

46. 1421 132 5 180 195189 5? 

47. 6858407346? 

48. 1 3 8 22 65 209 732 2780? 

This concludes the test.OO 

40. To the nearest percent, the probabil- 
ity that any one person selected at random 
was born o"n Monday is 14 percent. What is 
the probability, to the nearest percent, that 
of any seven persons chosen at random, ex- 
actly one was born on Monday? 

41 . A certain lock for raising and lowering 
barges from one river level to another is a 
rectangular parallelepiped 200 meters long, 
50 wide, and 20 deep. A barge is floating in 
the lock that is also a rectangular parallele- 
piped measuring 80 meters long, 25 wide, 
and 5 deep'.""The barge, containing 3,0.00 
barrels of toxic chemicals, displaces 8,000 
long tons of water. The water has a density 
of one long ton per cubic meter. Each barrel 
of chemicals is watertight, with a volume of 
132 OMNI 



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ga Spiegel; oage^lW 

by the work of Allen Frey, a biophysicist and 
technical director of Randomline Inc., a 
basic-research and 'consulting firm in Hun- 
tington Valley, Pennsylvania. Frey has been 
studying sounds generated not by giant fire- 
balls but by the relatively weak electromag- 
netic fields associated with radar, micro- 
waves, and radio waves. 

Applying his physiology background to the 
problem, Frey discovered that such fields, 
while too weak to cause vibration in the out- 
side environment, somehow stimulate the in- 
ner ear itself. Although unsure of the exacr 
mechanism involved, Frey suggests that 
these very weak fields might be affecting the 
chemical bath that surrounds the ear's 
acoustically sensitive membrane. Somehow 
that electrochemical reaction may be trans- 
lated to sound. 

While Keay's theory about vibration of the 
surrounding environment makes sense, Frey 
adds, giant fireballs are most probably stim- 
ulating the internal environment— the inner- 
ear membrane— as well as the external one. 
"You don't have an either/or situation," he 
notes. "The sources of the sound will vary 
depending upon Ihe exact frequency of the 
electromagnetic wave." 

Both Frey and Keay insist that better un- 
derstanding of the phenomenon will have a 
sizable payoff. Learning exactly how elec- 
tromagnetism reacts with the ear, says Frey, 
will give us greater insight into the human 
auditory system. 

And understanding how fireballs gener- 
ate sound, says Keay, could open new vis- 
tas for scientists studying geophysics, elec- 
tromagnetism. and astronomy. And perhaps 
even more important, current work could 
conceivably help researchers perfect a 
promising new energy technology known as 
magnetohydrodynamics, in which hot 
plasma, like that created by the fireball, gen- 
erates electromagnetic power. 

In the past, Keay notes, a concerted study 
of the fireball hiss has been almost impos- 
sible. At any given site around ihe world, 
there are only three or four giant meteors a 
century. It's impossible to know when one of 
these projectiles will arrive, and there simply 
aren't enough of them to justify a long-term 
wait, complete with recording equipment and 
a trained scienliiic staff. 

But that issue, he adds, may now be ac- 
ademic. A new, predictable kind of fireball— 
the space shuttle— produces as much 
plasma and noise as do fireballs dropping 
in from the cosmos. 

"The space shuttle offers a golden op- 
portunity for any young researcher- with a 
tape recorder, an amplitier, and a bit of time," 
Keay contends. "Scientists who know when 
it will pass can simply lie in wait tor its arrival. 
By getting the whooshes and hisses of the 
electromagnetic signal on tape, we can learn 
exactly how this kind of energy is converted 
to sound. We'd be solving a mystery that's 
haunted us for two hundred years. "DQ 


I have never seen 
a more, realistic expression 
of -the human condition 

How are you at maps ' 


By Mitch Coleman . 

ipawes is one of more than • 

a dozen behavioral 
researchers patrolling U.S. 

■ cities-- as part of an effort 
to control the proliferation of 

■ a new urban 
parasite— the street mime 3 ., 

Dr. By: 

'■ ; 

;d hnise-i 


nst ■ - 


j!-!y & 

., ■ on !. 
tylized. or 

■okoop this venerabk 
d pecjl=ar : y annovina 

It's a 


: ; 



ike a ii-iroc 
lizei darl " 

■■ DO! 


■■'!' :' 0< 

; learn wh 
:,' hesaic 

presson. "Were just 
at makes them fall int; 

Si: OUti 

;d a 

iso of the i 

-r-Ji : 


em down 


.7 bt 




'or a bo' 

I he oar: into -the rifle i- 

A ioi" ■■. 

V ::i- 

. i . ! ;.' 


!;.' tj£ 

■nr.ed In h 

is arms and \mi the 

y unharmed.". 
•d-RS patrols g rf 

o abruptly and 
-.$ to the pilot Toe 

I had been wall 
topped dead s 

. The sharp pop cUhe 
nid hue noise of the ro;; 

rM i:rooi mat tl 

r- hohCOO- Caii'.iOUS 

s so^enr-n He load- 
iq so- ■- : " ■ lie-move 

toe. Sailed :hc prey was 
ne pulsed out a tape measi 
dictating information'tome 
storm. "While. Male/'he ir 

;pmg Irks a baby 

We ■ s:ari:e a : .ao -o 

ghts and then—' 
ddenly Daviess 
ock moved -acres 

ooooc '.aeries. A loch- 
ia Ns face, and men 

had teardrops ,y 

ears, fine mimes 
nd&r them as well, but 

apt to climb arv ir 
ne dropped out i 

rag nary sadder 
dv. Jerry.' Two years 
of dental school to bo 

lokl Bring me a radio co^r; 'DO